The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 were passed in Rajya Sabha on Sunday (September 20) by voice vote despite stiff protest by Opposition lawmakers. The bills were cleared amid mayhem in Rajya Sabha with several MPs taking to the well of the House and raising anti-government slogans.
The bills were moved in Rajya Sabha by Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar.
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh welcomed the passage of the bills and tweeted, “The passage of these two bills will not only strengthen India’s food security, but will also prove to be a major effective step towards doubling the income of farmers. I heartily congratulate the Prime Minister for this unprecedented agrarian reform.”
“Under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, the strong foundation of ‘self-sufficient agriculture’ has been laid today. After the passage of these two legislators in Parliament, a new history of growth and development in the agricultural sector will be written,” he added.
Moments before the passage of the bills, TMC MP Derek O’Brien tweeted, “They cheated. They broke every rule in Parliament. It was a historic day. In the worst sense of the word. They cut RSTV feed so the country couldn’t see. They censored RSTV. Don’t spread propaganda. We have evidence. But first watch this.”
Earlier during the debate on the farm bills, Congress MP Ahmed Patel launched a scathing attack on the Centre and said, “I’ll talk about what BJP’s President said about our manifesto. He studied our manifesto & brought out a few points from it to compare with their Bill. Our manifesto is a horse and they have tried to compare it with a donkey.”
Former Prime Minister and JD(S) MP HD Deve Gowda raised questions over goverment’s decision to pass the bills amid pandemic. “PM Modi should explain what would farm bills do for farming community in short and long term and how it will help in achieving govt’s goal of doubling farmers’ income,” said Deve Gowda.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had defended the three bills and asserted that the bills are aimed to help the farmers and they will help the farmers in the long run. The prime minister’s stand made it clear that the government is unfazed by the opposition to the bills.
The bills aim to deregulate the sale of agricultural produce to ensure better prices for the farmers. But opposition parties and many farmers said that these bills are a step towards dismantling the minimum support price (MSP) regime.