No state demanded repeal of farm laws: NITI Aayog VC Rajiv Kumar
New Delhi, Feb 20: The sixth governing council meeting of federal policy making body NITI Aayog focussed on 6 items including making India a manufacturing powerhouse, reimagining agriculture, improving physical infrastructure, accelerating human resource development, service delivery at grassroots level, & health & nutrition. However, There was no discussion on the Centre's farm laws.
Addressing a press conference, NITI Aayog VC Rajiv Kumar said "PM Modi noted the positive response that the union budget has received and emphasis that there seems to be an all-round eagerness to push forward the development agenda. He urged the state governments to give opportunities to private sector."
"There was no discussion on the Centre's farm laws, or the demand for their repeal in the meeting today," he said when asked about Punjab CM's statement released ahead of the press conference.
A press release issued by the Punjab government, however, claimed that Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to find "urgent solution" to the apprehensions raised by the protesting farmers.
In his pre-recorded address for the sixth Governing Council virtual meeting of Niti Aayog, Singh, who could not attend the meeting as he was unwell, also expressed concerns over the threat to Punjab's agriculture sector as a result of the "disruptions caused by the three new farm laws", according to a state government release.
Farmers have been protesting against the three new Central agricultural laws enacted in September last year, and demanding they be repealed.
Urging respect for the 'annadaata' (the farmer), the CM reiterated his government's stand that agriculture is a state subject it should be left to be legislated upon by states in the true spirit of "cooperative federalism" enshrined in the Constitution.
He also pointed out that the state has already passed amendments to the Central legislations.
He also raised the farmers' apprehension that the Minimum Support Price-based procurement through Food Corporation of India (or agencies on its behalf) may be discontinued in view of the Shanta Kumar Committee Report of 2015.
The CM also stressed the need for the government of India to decisively dispel any such impression "to instil proper confidence in the farmers of the state".
Farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at several Delhi border points, including Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur, since November 28, demanding a complete repeal of three farm laws and a legal guarantee on minimum support price for their crops.
The government has denied allegations that it was trying to put an end to the MSP and the mandi system. Modi has also assured farmers that the MSP would continue.