Amid stiff protests from the Opposition, the Parliament Sunday cleared The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill.
Turning down the charges of the Opposition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wished farmers on the passage of farm bills in Parliament and called it a watershed moment in the history of Indian agriculture. In a series of tweets, he said, “A watershed moment in the history of Indian agriculture! Congratulations to our hardworking farmers on the passage of key bills in Parliament, which will ensure a complete transformation of the agriculture sector as well as empower crores of farmers.”
He added: “For decades, the Indian farmer was bound by various constraints and bullied by middlemen. The bills passed by Parliament liberate the farmers from such adversities. These bills will add impetus to the efforts to double income of farmers and ensure greater prosperity for them. Our agriculture sector is in desperate need of latest technology that assists the industrious farmers. Now, with the passage of the bills, our farmers will have easier access to futuristic technology that will boost production and yield better results. This is a welcome step. I said it earlier and I say it once again: System of MSP will remain. Government procurement will continue. We are here to serve our farmers. We will do everything possible to support them and ensure a better life for their coming generations.”
However, Opposition parties led by the Congress criticised the farm bills, saying they will not sign on the ‘death warrant’ of farmers The opposition charged that the two bills are aimed at benefitting big corporates and ending the minimum price based procurement by the government.
K K Ragesh (CPI-M), Derek O’Brien (TMC), Trichi Siva (DMK) and K C Venugopal (Congress) moved resolutions for sending the two bills to a select committee of the House for consideration before they are taken up for passage. Initiating the discussion on these two bills, Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa, who hails from Punjab, described the proposed laws as ‘ill-conceived and ill-timed’ and said his party ‘completely rejects’ them. People, including those living in remote villages, are equipped with technology and they can’t be easily cheated by politicians anymore. They know what’s good and what’s not.