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'Montek panel wanted to reform Punjab farming, but Amarinder Singh got cold feet'

'Montek panel wanted to reform Punjab farming, but Amarinder Singh got cold feet'

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New Delhi [India], February 9 (ANI): In the ongoing debate and protests over the Central farm laws -- a report from a panel headed by former Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, suggested the reform of Punjab's agri sector like the present Narendra Modi government but Chief Minister Captain (retired) Amarinder Singh got "cold feet".
"Even Montek (Singh Ahluwalia) panel wanted to reform Punjab farming like Narendra Modi government but capt Amarinder Singh got cold feet. Punjab must have to shift away from the wheat-rice cycle and diversify rapidly into high-value crops," tweeted Sukhi Chahal, the founder of The Khalsa Today and Chairman of Punjab Foundation, Silicon Valley California, US.
Back in April last year, the Punjab government had constituted an experts group, headed by Montek Ahluwalia, to form a post-COVID-19 revival strategy for the state.
The group, included economy and industry experts, were asked to recommend to the Punjab government a short-term (one year) as well as a medium-term action plan, including a fiscal management strategy, along with other policy measures to revive the state's economy in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis.
Contrary to Punjab government's present stand on the Central farm laws, the Montek-led report panel recommended a strategy for the agriculture sector to radically shift away from the wheat-rice cycle that Punjab has followed traditionally, diversify rapidly into high-value crops and modern Agro-processing.
This comes as Amarinder Singh's Congress government in Punjab is standing firmly against the new farm laws.
Moreover, the report stated that if Punjab's march towards desertification is to be stopped, the best way is to move the cultivation of wheat and paddy out to 50 lakh hectares of land in the Gangetic plains of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal as suggested by agricultural economists Dr Sardara Singh Johl.
This comes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday quoted his predecessor Manmohan Singh who had once called for making one single market for agriculture produce.
On Monday, while defending Centre's policies for farmers in Rajya Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "Manmohan Ji is here, I would read out his quote. Those taking a U-Turn (farm laws) will perhaps agree with him. 'There are other rigidities because of marketing regime set up in the 1930s which prevent our farmers from selling their produce where they get the highest rate of return..."
"...It is our intention to remove all those handicaps, which come in the way of India realising its vast potential at one large common market," he added.
"Manmohan Singh Ji had made his intentions clear to give farmers the freedom to sell their produce, and have just one market. And we are doing it now. You all should be proud. 'See, what Manmohan Singh Ji had said, Modi is having to do now. (woh Modi ji ko karna pad raha hai). Be proud!" PM Modi had said.
This comes amid the protest staged by farmers at different borders of the national capital since November 26 last year against the three newly enacted farm laws: Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. (ANI)

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