Indian Parliament Passed Three Farming Bills last week of Sept 2020

Indian Government passed three farm bills recently in both houses of Parliament and was enacted into law after the President of India signed the bill into an act. The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 (FPTC); The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 (FAPAFS); and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (ECA). Essentially, the FPTC breaks the monopolistic powers of the APMC markets, while FAPAFS allows contract farming, and ECA removes stocking limits on traders for a large number of commodities, with some caveats still in place. The rationale to bring these legislation’s is to provide a greater choice to farmers to sell their produce and buyers to buy and store. Thus, a new trend to Indian agricultural industry was unveiled and this was anticipated to bring more competition among the buyers. However, opposition has a different tune to oppose the farmers liberation. Not just opposition but the Liberal media of India and West never leave a chance to taunt on every move that the Prime Minister makes in India.

What Congress Party 2019 Manifesto Says:

A woman Farmer getting ready with the Paddy produce

The Irony here is, Indian National Congress Party (Congress Party) in its General Elections 2019 manifesto section 7 Page 9 clearly proposed the following: “Congress will repeal the Agricultural Produce Market Committees Act and make trade in agricultural produce–including exports and inter-state trade–free from all restrictions”. So, the same party blatantly and shamelessly opposed the farming reforms brought by Prime Minister Modi Administration. It proves the point that Congress Party neither has a spine to admit that their manifesto is wrong nor endorse the fact that these farm bills provide more freedom to the farmers. The narrative created was, that the bill doesn’t have the Minimum Support Price(MSP). However,Prime Minister Modi while addressing the nation, had clarified that MSP will prevail and continue to stay. As the farm laws definitely eliminate the middle vendors and farmers have a choice of selling their produce anywhere in India and don’t have to sell in a specific marketing committee. This helps the farmers to sell at their own will and choice.

Congress Party, a Thorn in Indian Politics

Congress Party Temporary President Sonia Gandhi and her Son Rahul Gandhi

The Congress Party which suffered the second straight election drubbing in the last 2019 general elections and couldn’t qualify to be an official opposition party is exploring options to negate the Parliament mandated farm laws in their State legislatures. Congress Party’s temporary president Sonia Gandhi asked her party lieutenants to come up with a plan of action to oppose the law. The senior lawyers in the party drafted a  Model law under Indian constitution Article 254(2) of the constitution, which allows the state legislatures to pass a law, “to negate the anti-agriculture central laws encroaching upon the state’s jurisdiction under the constitution”. Per Hindustan Times report: Article 254(2) of the constitution provides that where a law made by a state legislature with respect to one of the matters enumerated in the concurrent list “contains any provision repugnant to the provisions of an earlier law made by Parliament or an existing law with respect to that matter”, then, the law so made by the legislature “shall, if it has been reserved for the consideration of the President and has received his assent, prevail in that state”. Interestingly, the President of India has already given ascent to the farming bills passed by parliament and it is highly impossible to negate the same when drafted by State legislatures. Thus, it proves the point that Congress party is in desperation and unable to take credit for their own manifesto’s promise, which is now a law. The point is, the Congress party has vested interests in their party governing States as it seems like most of the middle vendors will lose their stake when it is implemented in their states bulldozing the interests of Farmers. So, on the lines of the party’s stand, the Punjab State Finance ministry is challenging the Farm laws in the Supreme Court but the same State Congress Party selectively ignored their own manifesto’s promise in 2019 General Elections.  The other aspect is that many regional parties in the parliament have supported the bills when introduced in the upper house of the parliament as the Government doesn’t have a majority and thus it proves the point that all the opposition parties are not thinking the same. The Congress party’s super desperation doesn’t fetch any fruits. Congress Party which governed the country for over 55 years of the Independent India but none of the Congress Party’s Prime Ministers have taken the cognizance of farmers plight and suicides and that said,  Congress Party has no moral right to oppose the farm laws.

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