After Punjab, Rajasthan becomes second state to introduce bills to counteract impact of India’s farm laws

A farmer feeds lettuce to his buffalo during a 21-day nationwide lockdown to slow the spreading of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Bhuinj village in Satara district in the western state of Maharashtra, India, April 1, 2020. REUTERS/Rajendra Jadhav. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

NEW DELHI, Oct 31, 2020, DNA. Following the Punjab government’s cue, the Rajasthan government on Saturday passed three bills in the state assembly to counteract the farm laws enacted by the Centre, DNA India reported.

The three bills–Essential Commodities (Special Provisions and Rajasthan Amendment) Bill 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill 2020–were introduced by Rajasthan’s Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal

Earlier this month Punjab Assembly passed four bills to negate the Centre’s controversial legislation.

In order to fight against the Centre’s contentious legislation, the Congress party has decided that the states where the party is in power will pass laws to counter the farm laws implemented by the Centre.

”INC under the leadership of Smt #SoniaGandhi ji & #RahulGandhi ji stands absolutely with our ‘annadatas’ and will continue to oppose the anti-farmer laws passed by NDA Govt. Today Congress Govt in #Punjab has passed Bills against these laws & #Rajasthan will follow soon,” Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot tweeted on October 20.

The Parliament has recently passed the Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020 which got President Ram Nath Kovind’s assent and came into effect from September 27.

Many farmers across the country held protests against the Centre’s farm laws.

The bill, Farmers` Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion And Facilitation) Bill, 2020, has generated the most fear amidst the farmers. They fear that the Centre will end the current system of open-ended FCI procurement. Farmers think that the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and other central agencies will shut down annual wheat and rice purchases from the states, leaving them at the mercy of traders’ predatory practices.

The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) has raised its concerns against these bills and termed it a shift towards further corporatisation of the farming industry.

Meanwhile, the Centre has argued that the bills aim to make farmers prosperous and legislations will not impact the provisions of minimum support price (MSP). It further argued that the bill will free the farmers from the clutches of middlemen and bring forth new technology in farming.

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