Farm Bills: Tomar assures MSP mechanism will continue for farmers

Further, he assured that these proposed legislations would not encroach upon the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Acts of the states
Amid the political turmoil triggered by the resignation of SAD Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Ágriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday once again assured that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) mechanism for farmers would continue and that the mechanism will not be impacted by the two bills, later cleared by the Lok Sabha.

During a debate on the Bills, Tomar said that many steps, proposed in the Bill, had been recommended by the numerous expert committees, including those which were constituted by the previous Congress government.

Earlier, moving 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' Bills in Lok Sabha, Tomar said the bills were aimed at making farming profitable.

The minister also clarified that these bills would not have any impact on the Minimum Support Price (MSP) mechanism which would continue.

Further, he assured that these proposed legislations would not encroach upon the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Acts of the states.

"These two bills will ensure that farmers get better prices for their produce. They will not be subject to the regulations of mandis and they will be free to sell their produce to anyone. They will also not have to pay any taxes," he said.

"These bills will increase competition and promote private investment which will help in the development of farm infrastructure and generate employment," Tomar noted.

The minister noted that because of these two reform bills, farmers will be able to connect directly with big business and exporters, and will be able to make farming profitable.

Initiating the debate on the bills, Congress member Ravneet Singh demanded that the bills be withdrawn.

Saying that Punjab collects about Rs 3,630 crore from mandis, which are used for welfare activities for farmers and creation of rural infrastructure like roads, he wondered why the Centre was interfering when agriculture is in the concurrent list.

"There are state assemblies... you want to snatch away the powers of states," Singh said, adding that the meaning of having "absolute" or "golden" majority does not mean that the Centre would take all the power in its hands.

He asked how small farmers would be able to resolve disputes with big corporates and claimed that the laws would "finish farmers".

Singh said that farmers of north India should join hands on the issue as he urged the government to withdraw the bills.
RSP leader N K Premachandran demanded that the bills be sent to the standing committee and that there was no justification for the promulgation of an ordinance.

"What is the urgency in promulgating the ordinance?" he questioned.

He also alleged that the ordinances were passed to bulldoze the farmers' interests while taking advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic.

All the ordinances are aimed at facilitating the interests of corporates, he said.

On his part, BJP's Virendra Singh said that the bills would strengthen farmers, and help India become 'aatma nirbhar'.


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