The Rajya Sabha began with a political slugfest today as the Congress-led Opposition tried to corner the Centre over the farm bills to oppose these proposed legislations terming them as anti-farmer and pro-corporate. The ruling BJP, with support from its NDA allies and a few "friendly" parties, is expected to have the advantage if the bills are put to vote.
Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar introduced Farmers' and Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, in Rajya Sabha.
"The two Bills are historic & will bring a change in the lives of the farmers. The farmers will be able to freely trade their produce anywhere in the country. I want to assure the farmers that these Bills are not related to Minimum Support Price," Tomar said in Rajya Sabha.
Farmers in states like Punjab and Haryana have been protesting against these proposed laws which, their leaders allege, will end up dismantling the existing government-backed support system they have.
The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill were passed by Lok Sabha on Thursday, while the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill was passed on Tuesday.
These bills seek to replace ordinances already promulgated by the government.
With opposition parties dubbing the three bills as "anti-farmers" and the SAD quitting his government to protest them, Modi refuted their criticism, describing these proposed laws as "historic" and stating that they will unshackle farmers by allowing them to sell their produce anywhere at a better price.
A day after resigning from Union Cabinet, senior SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal said she feels "saddened" that her voice in support of farmers was not heard and demanded that the government should pause on these legislations by referring them to a parliamentary panel for wider consultations.