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Rajya Sabha passes two farm ordinances

The Narendra Modi government managed to pass two farm Bills in the Rajya Sabha today amid stiff resistance from the Opposition and an agitation by some activists claiming to represent farmers in north India.

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, on Thursday.

The Opposition demand that the two Bills be sent to a Rajya Sabha Select Committee for greater scrutiny was rejected.

Now the Bill will go to the President for assent.

Similarly, the Farmers’ Produce Trade & Commerce (Promotion & Facilitation) Ordinance is intended to end the tyranny of Agricultural Produce Market Committees or APMCs. This will let farmers sell their produce anywhere in in India. The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, lets them sell their produce to anybody they want to sell to.

The Congress, however, continues to resist the government’s decision. Senior leader and former finance minister P. Chidambaram tweeted, “Agriculture Minister says that government will guarantee that the farmer will get MSP. Private trade takes place even today. The price paid to the farmer is invariably less than MSP. If the Agriculture Minister can magically ensure MSP, why has he not done that so far?”

Further, he said in another tweet, “How will the Minister know which farmer sold his produce to which trader? How will he know the millions of transactions that will take place every day all over the country? If he does not have the data, how will he guarantee MSP is paid in every transaction?”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted the passing of the farm Bills as a “watershed moment in history of Indian agriculture.” He 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.”.