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Saturday, September 26, 2020

Monsoon Session: Eight Bills tabled, two pending ones get LS nod; govt says MSP will stay

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar moved two key Bills aimed at implementing reforms in the farm sector.

Written by Harikishan Sharma | New Delhi | September 15, 2020 4:35:01 am
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and BJP MP Jyotiraditya Scindia. (PTI)

The government on Monday introduced eight Bills in Lok Sabha, while two pending Bills were passed.

Five of these Bills were introduced to replace ordinances: Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020; Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill; Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill; Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill; and Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill.

The three others are new: The Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Bill, 2020; Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill; and Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill.

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar moved two key Bills aimed at implementing reforms in the farm sector. The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill is aimed at allowing sale and purchase of farm produce outside government-regulated Agricultural Produce Market Committee mandis. An ordinance on this was promulgated on June 5. The Bill brought to replace it comes at a time when farmers in Punjab and Haryana are protesting against the ordinance. The farmers argue that the ordinance intends to phase out the system of minimum support price. Neither the ordinance nor the Bill mentions anything on this. The Opposition has also protested a central legislation on this, as agriculture is a state subject. Rejecting the charges, Tomar said, “Don’t doubt the wisdom of the government. Whatever legislation we have brought, the government has legal right.”

He assured the House that the MSP will stay. “I want to assure on behalf of the government that MSP was there, is there, and will continue to be there,” he said.

While farmers are also protesting against the Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, Tomar said this, too, is in their interest.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill will replace the ordinance issued on June 5. Through this, the government has amended the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, which provided for imposition of stock limit of foodstuff, including cereals, pulses, potato, onion, edible oilseed and oil. Salary, Allowances and Pension of MP (Amendment) Bill has been introduced to replace the ordinance promulgated to cut salaries of MPs during the pandemic.

Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Bill seeks to provide for enforceability of netting of a qualified financial contract.

Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill proposes to regulate assisted reproductive technology services. Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill seeks to amend Section 3 to widen the scope of financiers and permit other NBFCs to also undertake factoring business and participate on Trade Receivables Discounting System platform for discounting invoices of MSMEs.

The Lok Sabha passed The National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2020 and The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2020.

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