Is ordinance a way to centralise agriculture and hand it over to foreign companies: Ahmed Patel in Rajya Sabha

Why on 22nd July, 2020,when the PM was speaking to US companies he was telling them about these ordinances and asking them to come and invest,” he questioned

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel in Rajya Sabha today
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel in Rajya Sabha today
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NH Web Desk

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Sunday said in Rajya Sabha that BJP had selectively quoted or distorted the party’s 2019 manifesto.

“In 2019 – after ruining the life of farmers through low MSPs & demonetisation - Congress party promised a comprehensive plan to the economy of farmers. This plan was built on 22 points, BJP has read only 2 points and forgotten to read the 20 other points.
I challenge them to read the 20 other points and stop seeing these 2 points in isolation. Because half heartedly implementing only 1 and not the others is only going to compound the misery of the farmers,” he said.

“What is difference between our promise to repeal APMC and their ordinance? We promised to repeal APMC Act to free agricultural trade from all restrictions but we suggested this only after providing 5 major safeguards for the farmer,” he added.

“But this ordinance doesn’t have single safeguard which Congress proposed and it is malicious to claim this ordinance was a part of our manifesto,” he said.

He also questioned, “why on 22nd July, 2020 when the PM was speaking to US companies he was telling them about these ordinances and asking them to come and invest. Is this ordinance a way to centralise agriculture and hand it over to foreign companies? Is this ordinance being under the pressure of World Trade Organisation?

Here is the full text of the remarks made by him:

1) Good that BJP is burning midnight oil to research the Congress Manifesto. They have realised it is a masterpiece and for us it is no less than a holy document. We take it very seriously and will object to anyone to selectively quote it or distort it. Now that BJP has started to understand what a manifesto is, let us now teach them how it to interpret and expose their lies - these dangerous ordinances were never a part of our manifesto.

2) In 2019 – after ruining the life of farmers through low MSPs & demonetisation - Congress party promised a comprehensive plan to the economy of farmers. This plan was built on 22 points, BJP has read only 2 points and forgotten to read the 20 other points.
I challenge them to read the 20 other points and stop seeing these 2 points in isolation. Because half heartedly implementing only 1 and not the others is only going to compound the misery of the farmers.

3) What is difference between our promise to repeal APMC and their ordinance? We promised to repeal APMC Act to free agricultural trade from all restrictions but we suggested this only after providing 5 major safeguards for the farmer.

4) What are the 5 major safeguards we proposed before repealing APMC?

- First, the current national average of area served by a mandi is 450 sq km. We wanted to repeal this and establish Farmer market with sufficient infrastructure in every major village. Does this ordinance have this provision? NO

- Second, we promised a dedicated policy for agricultural export and import to protect farmer interest. Does this ordinance have this provision? NO. This ordinance is completely skewed to protect interest of corporate.

5) Third, to fix MSP we also recommended repealing the existing Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and replacing it by a National Commission on Agricultural Development and Planning (NCADP).

And we also said the NCADP will consist of farmers and their recommendation on MSP will be binding.

Currently CACP recommendation is not binding.

Does this ordinance have this provision? No. In fact this ordinance is way to make the MSP redundant

6) Fourth, our most important safeguard was the NYAY yojna where we promised Rs 72,000 a year to the 20% poorest families in this country. Who are these 20%? Small farmers and landless farmers.

With Rs 72,000 guaranteed income our farmers will be protected from any potential exploitation when we open agricultural trade

We challenge the BJP to implement this scheme first before bringing this ordinance.

7) Fifth, the Food Security Act of the UPA government covered 70% of this population. This ensured the government increases procurement from farmers

Instead the 2020 Economic survey of the Modi government proposed reducing the coverage of NFSA from 70% to 20%. This is because this government has no money to give the Food Corporation of India for purchasing from farmers.

The FCI is borrowing money from the National Small Savings Fund at 8.4% to sustain itself.

8) Apart from these 5 major safeguards, we had several other safeguards. Such as reviewing prices of agri-inputs, establish facilities for hiring farm machinery, construct warehouses in every block and operating farm insurance schemes on no profit no loss basis.

But this ordinance doesn’t have single safeguard which Congress proposed and it is malicious to claim this ordinance was a part of our manifesto.

9) Also why on 22nd July, 2020 when the PM was speaking to US companies he was telling them about these ordinances and asking them to come and invest. Is this ordinance a way to centralise agriculture and hand it over to foreign companies?

(State’s power to put levy on Central warehouses has been withdrawn under this ordinance)

Is this ordinance being under the pressure of World Trade Organisation?

10) Will this ordinance double farmer income in next 1.5 years as promised in BJP’s manifesto ? No

Will this ordinance reduce agricultural import which is around Rs 6-7 lakh crore per year? No

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