Punjab CM Passes Resolution Against Farm Laws
Chandigarh: Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday tabled a draft resolution in the Punjab assembly rejecting the three farm laws enacted recently by the Centre, terming it a move to “protect the state’s farmers and agriculture”.
The resolution also rejected the Centre’s proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020.
Singh appealed to all parties to rise above their political interests to save Punjab.
He also introduced three bills to counter the Centre’s farm laws, which have triggered protests by farmers and opposition parties in different parts of the country including Punjab.
Singh said he signed the resolution against the “anti-farmer laws” at 9:30 PM on Monday after extensive discussions and consultations with various experts.
“I find it very strange what the government of India wants to do,” he said.
The resolution sought the annulment of the three farm laws and the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020.
It also sought the promulgation of “a fresh ordinance making the procurement of food grains on the Minimum Support Price a statutory right of the farmers” and continuing with the “procurement by Government of India through FCI and other such agencies”.
The resolution expressed the state assembly’s “deep regret” over the “callous and inconsiderate attitude of the Government of India in attending to the concerns of the farming community on recent farm legislation enacted by them”.
“The Assembly is constrained to unanimously reject the three legislations and the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020,” stated the resolution, which was read out by the Speaker.
The Union government converted the relevant farm ordinances into Acts and notified the same on September 24 and 26 even though the concerns and sentiments of the House were conveyed to the prime minister through a letter on September 14, 2020 by the chief minister, it said.
“These three legislations along with the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 are clearly against the interests of farmers and landless workers, and time-tested agriculture marketing system established not only in Punjab but also in original green revolution areas of Punjab, Haryana, and Western UP,” it added.
The Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 proposes to eliminate subsidy in tariff and introduce a new tariff based on the cost of electricity.
The resolution further said the government of India has enacted trade legislations and not farm legislations.
It said these laws are also against the Constitution of India (Entry 14 List-II), as per which agriculture is a state subject.
“These legislations are a direct attack, and use of subterfuge to encroach upon the functions and the powers of the States, as enshrined in the country’s Constitution,” it stated.
The three farm bills — the Farmer’s 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 — were passed by Parliament recently.
Subsequently, President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the bills.
The three bills introduced by Singh to counter the Centre’s laws are — the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment Bill 2020, the Essential Commodities (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment) Bill 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment) Bill 2020.
The chief minister said these bills would form the basis of the state’s legal battle ahead.
The Centre has been saying that the three farm laws will raise farmers’ income, free them from the clutches of the middleman and usher in new technology in farming.
The Opposition and some farmers’ organisations have, however, been agitating against the laws alleging they will destroy the minimum support price mechanism, end Agricultural Produce Market Committees and allow corporates to arm-twist farmers.