Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday advised party-ruled states to explore the possibilities to pass legislations under Article 254(2) to negate the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government’s “anti-agricultural laws” and prevent the “grave injustice” being done to farmers.
The opposition party is citing the BJP government’s move in 2015 when it asked party-ruled states to bring their own laws to override the land acquisition act of 2013 passed during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) tenure for boosting infrastructure development.
“Congress president has advised Congress ruled states to explore the possibilities to pass laws in their respective states under Article 254(2) of the Constitution which allows the state legislatures to pass a law to negate the anti-agriculture central laws encroaching upon state’s jurisdiction under the Constitution,” Congress general secretary in-charge of organisation KC Venugopal said in a statement.
“This would enable the states to bypass the unacceptable anti-farmers’ provisions in the three draconian Agricultural laws including the abolition of MSP and disruption of APMCs in Congress-ruled states,” he added.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government pushed three bills to deregulate agricultural trade, which were passed controversially by Parliament, overriding demands by the Opposition for greater scrutiny and voting.
Big farmers’ groups, particularly in Punjab and Haryana, are protesting the bills, fearing deregulation will leave them vulnerable to powerful corporate agribusinesses and in an even weaker negotiating position than before.
The reforms have cost the BJP one of its oldest allies, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which has quit the ruling alliance.
The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance, Farm Services Bill, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020 seek to liberalise farm trade, enable modern supply chains, allow agribusinesses and farmers to enter into contracts, break interlocked markets and create a seamless commodities trade, currently fragmented.
The ‘Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020’ allows barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade of primary agricultural commodities, bypassing notified markets under the agricultural produce market committees. The bill will enable food traders to buy farmers’ produce from any market, rather than bind them to the specific markets where they are licensed to operate.