New Delhi: Amid widespread protests by farmers against the Centre’s farm bills, the Parliament on Sunday passed two contentious ordinances by voice vote despite a huge uproar by the opposition parties. The bills, cleared by the Rajya Sabha will become law with the assent of the President of India. Also Read - Farmer Outfits in Punjab to Intensify Stir Against New Farm Laws, Declare State-wide Protests on October 17
The two of the three bills passed today – Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 – were cleared in Lok Sabha on Thursday. Also Read - PM Narendra Modi Gets Slightly Richer, HM Amit Shah Poorer As Per Assets Declaration
While farmers across Punjab and Haryana have been raising agitation over the new ordinances, the bills created a rift between BJP and its long-time ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). The bills were tabled by Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar who declared them as “historic” legislation set to “bring a change in the lives of farmers”. Also Read - Farmers Walk Out of Centre's Meeting Over Minister's Absence, Tear Off Copies of Farm Laws
Here’s how parliamentarians reacted:
BJP National President JP Nadda
“The government under the leadership of Narendra Modi ji has liberated the farmers from injustice they were facing for the last 70 years. The irresponsible act of opposition is unfortunate. They violated the protocols, Chairman will take note of it and take action. The democratic system should function smoothly, we’ll request Chairman to take steps for the same.
Opposition parties are anti-farmers. Instead of being part of the process, they tried to obstruct the liberation of farmers. BJP condemns their act.”
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
“With the passing of two landmark agriculture Bills in Rajya Sabha today, India has cemented the strong foundation for ‘Atmanirbhar Agriculture’. This is the result of endless dedication and determination of the Central government under the leadership of PM Mod.”
“The passage of both the Bills in Parliament is indeed a landmark day for Indian Agriculture. I am thankful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his vision to unleash the true potential of India’s agriculture.”
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut
“Can the Government assure the country that after the passing of the agriculture reform Bills, farmers’ income will double and no farmer will commit suicide?… A special session should be called to discuss these Bills.”
Former PM & JD(S) MP HD Devegowda
“PM Modi should explain why there’s a hurry to pass the bills amid pandemic. He should explain what would farm bills do for the farming community in short & long term & how it will help in achieving govt’s goal of doubling farmers’ income.”
TMC MP Derek O’Brien
“They have broken every rule of the 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.”
Despite days of heated debate and angry protests, the government has maintained the new bills will help small and marginal farmers secure competitive prices as they are not related to Minimum Support Price.
Notably, the opposition has alleged that the bills will destroy the Minimum Support System (MSP).