SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Saturday said his party will never be a mute spectator to the injustice of tinkering with the minimum support price regime though he did not see its possibility.
The SAD chief made the remarks days after state Chief Minister Amarinder Singh feared that the Centre’s two recent ordinances, providing for barrier-free trade in farming produces and assured prices for them, may be precursors to disbanding the MSP regime.
Badal said his party will never compromise on the issue of assured procurement of farmers’ paddy and wheat by government agencies at the MSP as it was a question of life and death for the beleaguered peasantry.
The SAD is in the government at the Centre and will ensure that the interests of Punjabis in general and farmers and other poor segments in particular are fully safeguarded, said the former deputy chief minister.
The Shiromani Akali Dal chief, however, added that he did not see any threat to the present MSP regime at this stage.
But if at any stage, the MSP and assured procurement are tinkered with, the SAD will not remain a mute witness to such injustice and fight till the injustice is undone, said Badal.
SAD is fully conscious of the party’s historic role as the voice and conscience of the people in every sphere — from farmers’ interests to the federal structure of the country, he said.
Farmers and federalism are the foundation on which the country’s long term economic growth and stability stand, he added.
He said the SAD is committed to ensuring that the present MSP regime with assured official procurement of farmers’ produce is neither disturbed nor diluted in any way.
We will never be a party to any decision that will seek to change or dilute this arrangement, he said, adding he and his party are ready for everything in case farmers’ interests come under threat from any adverse change in the present arrangement of official purchases.
The SAD will go to any length, including launching mass action, to protect the rights and interests of every Punjabi, especially the farmers who are the backbone of Punjab’s identity, said Badal.
He said, Right now, the costs of inputs and other variables for farm productions have gone up exponentially while the prices of farmers’ produce have not only remained stagnant, but actually declined drastically when you account for inflation.
This has resulted in a drastic reduction of farmers’ real income, he added.
Chief Minister Singh had earlier dubbed the Centre’s ordinance permitting barrier-free trade in the agriculture sector as violative of the federal structure.
The CM had also warned that it could pave the way for disbanding the minimum support price regime and foodgrain procurement regime, triggering unrest among farmers.
The Centre recently promulgated two ordinances — Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion & Facilitation) Ordinance 2020 and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance 2020.