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Oppn says farm Bills death warrants for farmers, BJP calls them big reform

Opening the debate, Congress member Partap Singh Bajwa said the Bills are “completely ill-conceived” and “ill-timed”.

Written by Harikishan Sharma | New Delhi | September 21, 2020 4:49:33 am
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Rajya Sabha on Sunday saw the treasury and Opposition benches exchange heated arguments during the debate on the two farm Bills.

The Opposition termed The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 “death warrants” for farmers and asked the government to refer them to a select committee.(Follow Parliament LIVE UPDATES here)

Opening the debate, Congress member Partap Singh Bajwa said the Bills are “completely ill-conceived” and “ill-timed”. “These Bills are against the farmers of India, particularly Punjab, Haryana and Western UP. Being a son of a farmer, I want to say we will not sign the farmers’ death warrants in any condition.”

Defending the legislation, BJP MP Bhupender Yadav said, “The Opposition should stop doing politics and misleading the farmers on this issue as the government has brought a big reform to improve the rural economy.”

Read| Crucial farm reforms through, trail of anger, discord in House

“We are in the government till 2024, the MSP is going to be announced at least 8 times for the rabi and kharif crops. Each time your falsehood will be exposed,” he said.

TMC’s Derek O’Brien demanded that the legislation be sent to the select committee.

SP member Ram Gopal Yadav said there is a compulsion due to which the ruling party does not want to debate and discuss. “They are rushing through the Bills,” he said.

YSR Congress MP V Vijayasai Reddy referred to the Congress’s promise to repeal APMC act in its manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and said the “hypocrisy” should be exposed.

Supporting the Bills, JDU member Ram Chandra Prasad Singh said the legislation will benefit agriculture.

CPM member K K Ragesh said there should be a provision in the legislation for declaring MSP for all agricultural produce.

Read| Opp, states see new faultline: Centre usurps powers, weakens federalism

RJD member Manoj Jha said if the House passes these Bills, it will be writing the “obituary of Indian farmers”. “Farmers have issued a whip. It is not going to stop in Punjab and Haryana. It will go till Bihar,” Jha said, referring to farmers’ protests against the legislation.

The BJD’s Amar Patnaik asked whether the legislation is only for big traders.

Shiromani Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral demanded that the Bill be sent to the select committee. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, has resigned as the lone minister from SAD in the NDA government to protest the Bills.

Tamil Maanila Congress leader G K Vasan supported the Bills but asked the government to clear apprehensions about some provisions.

Expressing concerns about provisions of the Bills, TDP member Kanakamedala Ravindra Kumar said, “As per the Bill, without paying the market fee, the corporate sector will purchase agriculture produce outside the market through brokers according to the price fixed by them and required quantity… Farmers will have to depend on the mercy of the corporate sector.”

NCP member Patel said that it would have been better if the government had brought these Bills after discussion with farmers’ leaders such as Sharad Pawar.

BSP member Satish Chandra Misra wondered that if the Bills are historic, why are farmers protesting against them.

Shiv Sena member Sanjay Raut sought a clarification on the continuation of MSP system. AAP’s Sanjay Singh alleged that the government has always tried to snatch powers from states.

Republican Party of India leader and Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment Ramdas Athawale said his party supports the legislation.

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