Farm Bills Clear Parliament, Know Why Farmers Are Unhappy

Farmers in Punjab attempted to break the barricades on Ambala-Mohali highway near the Punjab-Haryana border on September 20 amid agitating protests against controversial farm bills, which cleared parliament on Sunday.

India   |   21 Sep 2020 5:00 AM GMT / Updated : 2020-10-23T17:29:58+05:30
Writer : Navya Singh | Editor : Prateek Gautam | Creatives : Rajath Arkasali Arkasali
Farm Bills Clear Parliament, Know Why Farmers Are Unhappy

Image Credit: Groatimes

The Rajya Sabha passed two of the three big-ticket farm bills of the government by voice vote on Sunday amid unprecedented uproar and demonstrations.

The opposition claimed the government did not have the numbers and alleged rampant violation of rules that helped the BJP. The opposition had demanded that the bills be sent to a select committee for further discussion.

"This does not end here," said Trinamool Congress's Derek O'Brien, terming it a "murder of democracy". The opposition MPs sat in protest inside the house and later, 47 of them moved a no-confidence motion against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Singh.

Farmers in Punjab attempted to break the barricades on Ambala-Mohali highway near the Punjab-Haryana border on September 20 amid agitating protests against controversial farm bills, which cleared parliament on Sunday. The police resorted to use of force and water cannons in an attempt to disperse the protesters.

Farmers in Punjab, Haryana and several others states have been protesting against the new legislations ever since the bills cleared Lok Sabha earlier this week.

To take control of the situation, the Haryana government intensified security arrangements after several farmer bodies across the state announced the protest call, threatening that they will block the highways for three hours as a part of "Road Roko (block the road)" protest.

Delhi Police was also on alert amid demonstrations in neighbouring states.

Visuals showed protesters coming out on the streets, many on their tractors and chanting slogans against the new bills.

Why Are The Bills Controversial?

Three bills - Farmers' and Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 - were passed by the Lok Sabha earlier this week. Two of them cleared Rajya Sabha this afternoon.

The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 allows the electronic trading of farmers' produce and allows the setting up of transaction platforms for facilitating direct online buying and selling of farm products.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill aims at developing a national framework for farming agreements to empower farmers through networking with agribusiness firms, exporters and retailers.

The contentious bills passed in the parliament, which farmers say are "anti-farmer", aim to provide a barrier-free trade for farmers' produce outside notified farm mandis and to empower farmers into farming agreements with private players prior to production for sale of agri-produce.

The ordinances seek to bring in private players in agriculture and promote hurdle-free sale of produce, but the farmers argue that they will bring about corporate dominance.

The bills have stirred massive protests because farmers fear they will no longer get paid at the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and commission agents fear they will lose their commission.

Opposition parties and farmer bodies and unions say the bills are "anti-farmer" as the agriculture sector will be left to the mercy of corporate interests.

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Sunday said: "I want to assure everyone that the bills have nothing to do with MSPs. MSPs were there and will continue. I would request everyone to reconsider their views on the farm bills. The two bills are historic and will bring a change in the lives of the farmers. The farmers will be able to freely trade their produce anywhere in the country.

On Friday, Prime Minister Modi had said that there is an attempt by the opposition to mislead the farmers of the country with false news and data.

Soon after the bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha, PM Modi tweeted: "A watershed moment in the history of Indian agriculture! Congratulations to our hardworking farmers on the passage of key bills in Parliament, which will ensure a complete transformation of the agriculture sector as well as empower crores of farmers."

Also Read: "Don't Be Misled": Prime Minister Modi To Farmers Amid Opposition Attacks Over Agri Bills

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