Bill to set up commission for farmers’ empowerment to be moved in Punjab Assembly

Chandigarh, Nov 27- The Punjab government has decided to move a Bill in the current session of the state Assembly today to set up a five-member commission for framing a policy to empower and grant legal rights to farmers, an official release said.

The ‘Punjab State Farmers and Farm Workers Commission- 2017’ Bill will be introduced in Vidhan Sabha session beginning today, it was decided at a meeting of the state Cabinet here, which met under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh ahead of the session.

The commission, to be headed by a nominated chairperson who will hold the rank of a Cabinet minister, will also be tasked with planning agriculture policies at district and block level, the official release said here.

The commission would have powers to frame agriculture policies and other related matters referred to by the state government.

The government will have powers for making reference to the commission on the subjects as may be decided and also for framing the rules for the commission.

The commission will have corpus fund of Rs 25 crore initially and Rs 5 crore for the next five years as grant to be given by the state government.

It would be required to submit its report, which will be tabled in Punjab Vidhan Sabha, it said.

The commission will have its headquarter at Chandigarh.

The chairperson of the commission will be a person appointed by the state government, who is a practicing or progressive farmer with at least a graduate degree, or an eminent agriculture scientist, and has sufficient exposure regarding current domestic and international agricultural scenario, the release said.

“He or she will have the status of Cabinet minister of the state government and his salary and perks, besides other terms and conditions, will be regulated accordingly,” it said.

“The member-secretary of the commission will be in the rank of the secretary to government and his salary and allowances and other conditions of appointment will be fixed by the government,” the release said.

The commission will also have an advisory council consisting of more than 15 members, out of which seven will be progressive farmers and one each from the food processors, agri-machinery manufacturers and agri-entrepreneurs, academics and agriculture scientists, among others.

The members of the advisory council will be nominated by the commission and hold the position for three years.

Giving the details of the commission’s agenda, the release quoting an official spokesperson said it will be mandated to provide for rights and welfare of those dependent on agriculture.

It will also collect data, information, analyse, inquire, consult studies and suggest measures for improving the status of agriculture and allied sectors, rural infrastructure, besides promoting the off-farm job creation in rural areas. PTI