Farm bills get President’s assent amid protests, SAD’s exit
Farmer leaders believe that passage of these bills will affect how the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) used to work exposing farmers to the whims and fancies of private players and corporations belonging to the agricultural sector.
The three farm bills, which were passed in both houses of Parliament during the monsoon session, received the Presidential assent on Sunday evening. President Ram Nath Kovind signed the bills, making them an act, and the government notified them.
The passage of these bills has led to a series of protests by farmers across the country, the Shiromani Akali Dal’s exit from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and also saw the suspension of eight parliamentarians of the Rajya Sabha when Parliament proceedings were ongoing.
Protests against the three acts - The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Service Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 - began in Punjab and Haryana in early September before the monsoon session had begun.
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Farmers and farmers’ union leaders are still continuing to stage protests all over the country over the passage of these bills as they fear public procurement will be affected and the system of minimum support prices (MSP) will exist no more. Farmer leaders believe that the passage of these bills will affect how the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) used to work exposing farmers to the whims and fancies of private players and corporations belonging to the agricultural sector.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has continually assured farmers that their agricultural produce will continue to be sold under the ambit of MSP and government procurement will not be affected. Opposition parties had earlier requested the President to not give his assent to the three bills.
Parliament also saw huge ruckus in the upper house which then led to the suspension of eight opposition members due to unruly behaviour. Former Union minister and SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned from her post as her party voiced its concerns regarding the passage of the bills.
Farmer agitations against the passage of the bills continue across northern India. Farmers in Punjab held a ‘Rail Roko’ agitation while in Rohtak farmers blocked the Rohtak-Chandigarh National Highway. Protests were also held in Bengaluru and Kolkata.