Two of the three farm bills that have triggered protests among the farmers in Punjab and Haryana are slated to be taken up in Rajya Sabha on Sunday (September 20). One more contentious bill, The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, was listed for Saturday.
With the Opposition parties, including the Congress, opposing these bills, leaders from the government side has reportedly approached some of the non-Congress opposition parties with a proposal of having a meeting with Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.
Even the Congress’s leadership have been contacted by Tomar and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, according to Indian Express. However, it said the Union ministers did not appear in a mood to agree to their demand of sending these bills to select committees.
The two farm bills slated to be taken up for passage in the Rajya Sabha on Sunday are The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill. The third bill is The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill.
Meanwhile, the BJP and the Congress engaged in a verbal spat outside the Parliament on Friday with the saffron party’s chief JP Nadda claiming that Congress had itself promised in its manifesto that it would remove the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC).
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“The system of minimum support price (MSP) and government procurement through APMC will continue. The farmers will not be compelled to sell their produce to the licensed traders by going to the market,” the BJP national president said.
On being asked about the Congress’s promise of abolishing the APMC Act in its manifesto, party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said an attempt is being made to mislead people and farmers. Chidabaram said he was disappointed with BJP spokespersons’ distortion of the Congress manifesto statement on APMC laws.
“Our Manifesto promised that we will create thousands of Farmers’ Markets in small towns and large villages. Once that is accomplished, the APMC laws can be changed. The way to liberalise agricultural marketing is to create more accessible markets and choice for the farmer. There will be rules to regulate such markets,” Chidambaram said.
(With inputs from agencies)