Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has said that the setting up of a genuine federal structure in the country is the need of hour to fulfill the cardinal ideas of justice, equality and liberty enshrined in the Constitution.
Particpating in Republic Day celebrations here on Saturday, Badal said the framers of India's Constitution had envisaged the establishment of a federal structure in the country that would ensure the well being of all sections of society.
But the policy of successive Congress Governments at the Centre to usurp the powers of the states, has turned India into a unitary state, Badal bemoaned.
He further said that India's great freedom fighters and patriots had laid down their lives during the freedom struggle to ensure the welfare of its countrymen, but it was unfortunate that the unitary structure of governance in country has given birth to a number of problems, due to which, the dreams of "our forefathers still remains unfulfilled."
Citing an example, Badal said that as per the Constitution, agriculture is a state subject, but the Centre was fixing the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of crops and finalizing the prices of diesel and fertilizers, besides other agriculture inputs, due to which, the agonies of farmers have increased multi-fold.
He said that due to a non-remunerative MSP and escalating costs of agricultural inputs, farming is no longer a profitable venture.
Badal said that due to such ill-conceived policies, the hard working farmer of the state is reeling under a heavy debt of more than Rs.32000 crore, adding that as per the figures of the Union Government, more than 2.90 lakh farmers across the country have been forced to commit suicide.
He emphasized that states needed to be strengthened by giving them more financial and political autonomy, especially with regard to decision making process on issues of local and regional development.
"Federalism is the only key to cherish the dreams of our forefathers to build strong and sovereign nation," Badal said.
Badal said that during last six years his government has worked hard to promote communal harmony, peace, brotherhood and amity in the state, due to which, despite of being a border state, Punjab was today the most peaceful state of the country. By Ravindra Singh Robin (ANI)