Need genuine federal structure in country: Badal on R-Day

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal stressed on the need to set up a "genuine" federal structure in the country in order to fulfil "the cardinal ideas of justice, equality and liberty" enshrined in the Constitution.

Speaking on the occasion of the 64th Republic Day in Amritsar on Saturday, the chief minister said the framers of the Constitution had envisaged a federal structure for the nation but successive Congress governments at the Centre had usurped the states' powers and turned the country into a "unitary" state.

Citing an example of what he regarded was an instance of the Centre infringing on the state's rights, the chief minister said that as per the Constitution, agriculture was a state subject but now the Centre has grabbed it and was fixing the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of crops and finalising the prices of diesel and fertilisers besides other agriculture inputs, due to which, farmers' agony had increased. He said that due to non-remunerative MSP and escalating costs of agricultural inputs, farming is no longer a profitable venture.

Badal said that such ill conceived policies had resulted in hard working farmers of the state reeling under a heavy debt of more than Rs 32,000 crore adding that as per the Centre's figures, more than 2.90 lakh farmers across the country have been forced to commit suicide.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal unfurled the National Flag at Bathinda. In his speech, he exhorted parents to play a pro-active role in taking special care of their teenage children to save them from drug addiction and promised to continue the crusade launched by SAD-BJP government against the menace.

Both the chief minister and his deputy recalled the contribution of Punjabis in the national freedom struggle. They said that it was a matter of pride that despite being just 2.5 per cent of the total population of the country, Punjabis had made supreme sacrifices during the national freedom struggle and accounted for more than 80 per cent of the freedom fighters, who were imprisoned, executed or exiled during the movement for independence.

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