Updated: December 11, 2020 8:31:07 am
The Karnataka Legislative Council late on Wednesday night passed the Karnataka Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation and Development) (Amendment) Bill 2020, even as Opposition Congress walked out in protest.
The Karnataka Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation and Development) (Amendment) Bill 2020 is the state version of the central legislation to modify the APMC law, against which farmers have been protesting for a fortnight on Delhi’s borders.
The amended law allows farmers to sell their produce outside APMC markets. The bill was passed in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly in September. The Opposition had staged a walkout then too, labelling the law as “anti-farmer”.
In May, the state BJP government had brought in the Karnataka Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation and Development) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, following a cabinet decision to amend the Karnataka Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation and Development) Act, 1966.
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Karnataka Chief Minister Yediyurappa has said that farmers should see the changes brought about by the modified APMC Act and then decide on whether the law should remain. “We will not allow APMC markets to collapse and will look after the interests of workers,” he said.
The bill was not taken up in the legislative council in the monsoon session. On Wednesday, the Congress and JDS opposed the bill, claiming it would allow big corporates to take advantage of small farmers and that would be “a death knell” for the farmers.
The bill was passed through a voice vote in the 75-member council where the BJP has 31 members, the Congress 28 members, and the JDS 14 members apart from one Independent member and the Chairman of the house.
The JDS, which had only a handful of members in attendance, opposed the bill and sought a division of votes, but the demand was rejected by the Chairman as the BJP was in a clear majority after the Congress staged a walkout.
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