Even as farmers and opposition parties continue to protest against the controversial farm bills, President Ram Nath Kovind has given his assent for the three bills passed by the Parliament. The three bills are Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020.
President Kovind's approval comes a day after ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) oldest ally, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), quit the NDA over the farm bills.
The Akali Dal was the oldest ally of the BJP and the two parties have shared power in Punjab and at the Centre for several terms.
Terming the Modi government's decision to go ahead with the farm bills as a "murderous assault on the poor peasantry", SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said, "The Shiromani Akali Dal has decided to pull out of BJP-led NDA alliance because of the Centre's stubborn refusal to give statutory legislative guarantees to protect assured marketing of farmers crops on MSP."
The three contentious bills have triggered massive protests by not only the Opposition parties but also farmers from all across India, who have been alleging that the bills will harm their interest and benefit corporates.
The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 aims to permit the sale of agricultural produce outside the mandis regulated by the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMC) constituted by different state legislations.
The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, provides for contract farming.
The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020 deregulates the production, supply, distribution of food items like cereals, pulses, potatoes, onion and edible oilseeds.