To nullify the negative impact of the Agricultural Bill on Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation), SAD president Sukhbir Badal has suggested to Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to declare the entire state as a ‘Principal Market Yard’.
- According to Punjab Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act, there are three types of yards under the Punjab Mandi Board (PMB) — Principal Market Yard, Sub Yard and Purchase centres.
- Proper infrastructure is developed in these principal yards which included civic amenities, sheds, office buildings, canteen, platform, canteen roads, electrification and even public health facilities.
- The small mandis have temporary arrangements of minimum civic amenities during the procurement season.
- Declaring the entire state as Principal Market Yard would mean the purchaser has to pay the same taxes outside the PMB yards even in a private trade area.
- In the current yards of PMB, there are market committee staffs to manage the sale and purchase. The government will have to develop a system to bring every purchaser under one tax regime in the state.
- Such a step could isolate Punjab and be beyond the centre’s Bills on agriculture applicable to the rest of India.
- The Centre, which purchases the wheat and paddy of Punjab, may not like the idea if the state nullifies its Bills and could decide now to purchase from other state, an annual expenditure of Rs 65,000 crore will be now on state government.
- The state does not have the infrastructure to store it because centre’s Food Corporation of Indian (FCI) manages the entire storage of wheat and paddy in the state.
- Trader who will be supposed to pay the taxes even outside the mandis will start paying even lesser to the farmers to keep their profit margin intact.