Jaspal Singh Sawhney,Chairman ,Eagle Group speaking on Farmer’ s Bills passed by the Modi Govt and and Month Long Protests by Farmers and other Government Policies
First, I wish to state that, Mr. Narender Modi has done a very good Job abroad with his foreign policies. India is projected as a saviour for Democracy worldwide. India is looked up with respect even in Islamic states like Dubai and other U.A.E countries. Mr Modi’s policies has have helped India’s image in Europe and in the USA. However, in India some of the policies have met with strong resistance.
Q: Are the farmers right in protesting against the govt so rigorously?
Jaspal.S.Sawhney : In my opinion, these three new bills seem to state something quite different to what the government is projecting. The government seems to be projecting that the farmers will have the right to sell their produce as per existing state laws, to the existing mandies, and will also be protected with the minimum support price. Plain reading of the bills tell a different story. The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (promotion and facilitation) bill 2020 clearly states that the provisions of this bill over ride anything inconsistent in the STATE APMC act or any other law in force. Further, this bill states that no legal proceedings shall lie against the central government, state government, any officer of the government’s or any other person acting under this act. Therefore, in my opinion, the government has not engaged with the effected people to find out what they require. Further, the government has not taken enough time to ask for objections / suggestions from the stake holders regarding these bills. Those bills which have such far reaching consequences upon such a large number of people need to be deliberated upon.
As we know, India is a Federal form of Government. Prior to these bills the states had the right to enact laws and implement them through the Agricultural Produce Market Committee, which protected the farmer as well as the market price. These new bills seem to transfer all these rights and responsibilities to the centre. Therefore, these new bills need substantial corrections so that the states are not threatened by them.
Keeping the above in mind, if the central government wishes to allow interstate / intrastate transportation of produce in addition to operation of the existing mandies, these bills clearly stop short of projecting that view. The central government needs to act in tandem with the state governments which so far have given good results in participating in the green revolution. In my opinion, if interstate / intrastate movement of produce helps the farmers, there is nothing wrong in that. However, the farmers and the state governments are not convinced, hence the backlash.
Q : What are your views on demonetization by Indian Govt ?
Jaspal. S.Sawhney : I feel, there was nothing wrong in demonetisation. However, the method in which it was implemented, left a lot to be desired. Counterfeiting and Black Money were the areas which the govt. was targeting. However, demonetisation was forced down on our throat, within a matter of hours. There was no planning done to implement it in a meticulous manner. Therefore, the Common Man suffered a lot for three months. The common man was seen standing in front of banks for hours to get his own hard earned money. There were not enough new notes printed. Ultimately, 99% of the banned notes found themselves back in the treasury. True, it gave a boost to the new bank accounts being opened. However, trade and commerce saw a dip for the entire financial year. Black money continues to be in circulation.
Q : Abrogation of Article 370 by Modi Govt. What are your comments ?
Jaspal.S.Sawhney : Again, this step of the Modi government was forced down the throat of the citizens of J&K state. In my opinion, I am not for article 370 and I am not against article 370. I am for peace and development. Any act of the government which brings peace to Kashmir is acceptable to me. In my opinion, article 370 was enacted to assure the majority religion in Kashmir that they could live in peace and without fear in Kashmir. Over the years, in my opinion, article 370 was mis-used by certain elements to destroy peace and tranquility in the state. The Modi government should have gone out of their way to explain to the residents in Kashmir that the government will take any and all steps to ensure peace and development. The people of Kashmir needed to be convinced that peace and development come before article 370. However, the manner in which article 370 was abrogated, has alienated the residents of Kashmir, and tarnished the image of the Indian secular nation. The people in Kashmir are not happy. Every step should be taken for peace and development in Kashmir.