After Parliament nod, President Ram Nath Kovind approves three farm bills

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New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday (September 27, 2020) approved the three farm bills that have triggered protests by farmers especially in Punjab and Haryana.

According to a gazette notification, the President gave his assent to the three bills: The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020 on Sunday.

The President’s assent comes amid severe criticism of the bill by the Opposition in the manner with which they were passed in the Parliament.

Also, since its approval in both the Houses, protests have erupted in many parts of the country against the three farm bills. 

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Meanwhile, Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal called it a dark day for India. “It’s really a dark day for India that the President has refused to act as the nation’s conscience. We were very hopeful that he would return these bills to Parliament for reconsideration as demanded by SAD and some other opposition parties,” he told ANI. 

The NDA’s oldest ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has parted ways with the ruling party on this issue as farmers in Punjab and Haryana intensify their protest against the farm bills.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried to allay the fears of the farmers, saying that the country`s agriculture sector has recently unshackled itself, in a reference to the farm bills. PM Modi stated  that the farmers and the farm sector need to be strong to lay a strong foundation of “Atmanirbhar Bharat”.

“One who is grounded stays firm even during the biggest storms. During these tough times of corona, our farm sector, our farmers are a living example of this. Even during this crisis, our agricultural sector has again shown its prowess. Our farmers, farm sector, villages, are the foundation of `Atmanirbhar Bharat`. If they are strong, the foundation of `Atmanirbhar Bharat` will be strong,” he said.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 aims to permit the sale of agricultural produce outside the mandis regulated by the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMC) constituted by different state legislations.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, provides for contract farming.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020 deregulates the production, supply, distribution of food items like cereals, pulses, potatoes, onion and edible oilseeds.

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