Food security is as important as national security and diversification in agriculture should be organic, these were the words of Punjab Finance Minister Mr. Manpreet Singh Badal, who participated in a virtual session "Jai Jawan Jai Kisan-Victory, Soldier! Victory Farmer!" on the concluding day of the 4th Military Literature Festival-2020 today.Punjab always stood at the forefront when the country was in need in terms of food and nation security. That's why, it is rightly known as the Sword Arm and the Food Basket of the country. Punjab has contributed immensely in national food security and safeguarding the borders of the country as despite of the being less than 2% of national population, said Mr. Badal, while answering the query about farm laws implications and impacts on agrarian states to Mr. Manish Tewari, Member of Parliament and moderator of the session.The Finance Minister said that the Punjab has poisoned it's soil and depleted groundwater for the nation food security, besides sacrificing the brave and courageous sons for the honour of the Bharat Mata and in return we never asked anything, but now BJP led Union Government must listen to voice of the people of the country especially Punjab.Expressing the concern over the arm twisting tactics of the Centre Government to deviate the Punjab Government from its stand on Farm Laws, the Finance Minister said that Modi Government withheld the Rural Development Fund, which is sizeable amount of Rs.1200 crore, and even he has not been able to get an appointment with the Food Minister of India for the last one month.
He said that UAE is putting up three large food parks in India and they were very keen to set up a food park in Punjab but the Government of India has allotted the food parks to Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. How the Punjab would wean away from agriculture without giving alternative sources of employment? asked Mr. Badal. Mr. Badal said that although our country has large food stocks, but most of the population does not have the power to buy it. According to the Hunger Index, India ranked at 94th position, while countries like Ethiopia did better than India. If the central government cannot feed the people, then it has no right to be called a government. Today, Punjab's contribution in Indian Army stands at 8%, which was 20% at British time.The Finance Minister said that the Union Government should suspend and reconsider these laws and the Union Government should not make it an issue of prestige. He thanked the people of Haryana for their generous help to protesting Punjab farmers.Mr. Manish Tewari said that a committee of all parties should be constituted to discuss these contentious laws. The Union Government should not impose these laws on the farmers.Actor and politician Ms. Gul Panag said that in the context of India, the slogan of 'Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan' symbolizes the contribution of the farmers and soldiers in the development and security of the country. She said that Punjab and Haryana made India 'Aatmanirbhar' in foods. Most of the military families have a peasant background and many of them are opposing these laws, will that make them 'Deshdrohi'? She asked. Ms. Panag also expressed grave concern over giving the tag of Deshdrohi by the ruling party. She said that everyone is free to express his views in a democracy but this government has a habit to call every protesters anti-national.