Amidst an uproar and stiff protest, two contentious farm Bills were passed in the Rajya Sabha on Sunday, the Farmers Produce (Trade and Commerce) Bill, 2020; and the Farmers Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.
The Bills, which seek to replace two ordinances promulgated in June this year, already cleared by the Lok Sabha, were passed by voice vote in the upper house.
However, the Bills have seen widespread protests – particularly in Haryana and Punjab, where the BJP’s ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has also expressed opposition to the Bills.
In an interview to Mitali Mukherjee, P. Sainath founder editor of the People’s Archive of Rural India said the Bills were an attempt to wipe out the fortunes of farmers. While there were many criticisms of the concept of both the APMC and the MSP, the options being provided would ensure that large corporates would arm-twist farmers into being paid the least remunerative prices.
He pointed out that Bihar scrapped its APMC Act in 2006 and there has been no resultant “liberation” of the farm sector.
Sainath said farmers were already subject to murderous price fluctuations and the three farm Bills would create major discontent amongst farmers and throw the community into utter chaos.
“If the UPA couldn’t shoot straight, the NDA can’t stop shooting,” he said.