Farm laws encroach on Punjab domain: Economists - ECAS Punjab

Farm laws encroach on Punjab domain: Economists

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Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 27

Eminent economists, hailing from Punjab and working in top institutions, have come up with a set of 20 policy briefs on resurrecting the state's sagging economy post the Covid-induced lockdown.

Proposals for post-Covid revival

  • Remove infrastructure bottlenecks and institutional hurdles for industry
  • Encourage dairy cooperatives and local milk grids linked to vendors
  • Implement Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme to revive industry
  • Encourage crop diversification through crop rotation or agro forestry
  • Strengthen supply chains for quality seeds, involve farmers' cooperatives

The policy briefs call for urgent reforms in agriculture produce marketing committees (mandis). The briefs state ideally the state APMC Act should be in tune with the Central Acts, but at least two of the three farm laws — The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act — encroach on the state's domain and are anti-farmer.

Talking to The Tribune, Prof Sukhpal Singh at Centre for Management in Agriculture, IIM Ahmedabad, who has made this particular policy brief, said he was "disappointed" that the amendments to the above mentioned Acts, passed by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, would also be detrimental to the interests of farmers. "These aim at killing private participation in trade. If the Centre were to change the policy on foodgrain procurement, where would the farmers find buyers?" he reasons.

Interestingly, the policy briefs have recommended that Punjab stop free power to big farmers and rationalise power subsidy for farmers having over 10 acres of land.

Besides Prof Sukhpal Singh, Dr Lakhwinder Singh from Punjabi University, Patiala and Dr Kamal Vatta, from PAU, Ludhiana, were involved in coming up with a 20-part series, framing a medium and long-term sustainable policy to aid in the post-Covid recovery in agriculture, industry, uplifting marginalised sections and employment generation.

Punjab has been severely hit by the economic slowdown, with its economy expected to contract by almost 25 per cent. The industry is estimated to have suffered a loss of Rs 40,000 crore. With the debt-stressed state not getting its GST compensation from the Centre so far, the experts, who have come together in an initiative undertaken by Centre for Development Economics and Innovation Studies, are recommending major shift in policies for taking the state on path to success.



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