A high-voltage political drama is expected in both Houses of Parliament on 21 September over contentious Farm Bills, that were cleared in the Rajya Sabha with voice vote yesterday. While the Narendra Modi-led Centre dubbed the ordinances as the biggest reform in agriculture sector, Opposition leaders, on the other hand, slammed the bills as “death warrants” of farmers, and called it a “black day for democracy”.
The Lok Sabha had already cleared the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020. These will now go to the President for his assent before they are notified as laws.
Eight opposition MPs staged an overnight protest next to the Gandhi statue in Parliament premises over their suspension due to “unruly behaviour”. In an attempt to cut the ice, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Singh brought tea for the MPs.
The RS deputy chairman, the leaders said, came in ready with a posse of news cameras. A senior MP asked him to visit them without the cameras and sit with them. “Another senior MP told him that while bringing tea was a nice gesture, he was still in the wrong in what he did. They told him that he had been the one who broke the rules,” a protesting MP said.
Soon after the passage of the bills, Prime Minister Modi took to Twitter and assured farmers that the existing government support system will continue. “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,” the prime minister tweeted.
Meanwhile, 12 opposition parties gave a notice for a no-confidence motion against the deputy chairman over the manner in which he allowed two farm bills to pass in the Rajya Sabha. As a counter, the BJP is considering moving a motion for stringent action against several opposition MPs accused of unruly behaviour in the house during the passage of the two bills.
Opposition to boycott Rajya Sabha until suspension of MPs is revoked: Azad
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said today that the opposition would boycott the proceedings of the House till the suspension of eight members is revoked. Speaking after the Zero Hour, Azad demanded that the government bring a bill that would ensure private players don’t procure food grains below the minimum support price (MSP) fixed by the government. He asked the government to fix the MSP from time to time as the C2 Swaminathan formula.
A2 costs basically cover all paid-out expenses, both in cash and in kind, incurred by farmers on seeds, fertilisers, chemicals, hired labour, fuel, irrigation, etc. A2+FL cover actual paid-out costs plus an imputed value of unpaid family labour. C2 costs are more comprehensive, accounting for the rentals and interest forgone on owned land and fixed capital assets respectively, on top of A2+FL.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded Harivansh Singh for bringing tea for the eight suspended MPs. “To personally serve tea to those who attacked and insulted him a few days ago as well as those sitting on Dharna shows that Shri Harivansh Ji has been blessed with a humble mind and a big heart,” Modi tweeted, adding that Harivansh’s gesture will make “every democracy lover proud.”