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Amid protests in Punjab, Haryana, Farm Bills tabled in Rajya Sabha

The bills are facing staunch opposition from farmer bodies as well as from within the ruling coalition

Amid protests in Punjab, Haryana, Farm Bills tabled in Rajya Sabha-dnm
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New Delhi, First Published Sep 20, 2020, 11:41 AM IST
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New Delhi: The Farm Bills are "historic" and will bring a change in the lives of the farmers, said Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar as he moved two bills in the Rajya Sabha on Sunday (September 20).

“Minimum price or MSP based procurement of agriculture crops from farmers will continue and is not related to the farm bills that seek to give cultivators freedom to market their produce,” said minister Tomar.

Days after their passage in the Lok Sabha, Tomar introduced 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 in the Rajya Sabha.

The bills are facing staunch opposition from farmer bodies as well as from within the ruling coalition. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the food processing minister from the Shiromani Akali Dal party, resigned from the government last week.

Speaking at the introduction, Tomar said the two bills are "historic and will bring a revolutionary change in farmer's lives".

"Farmers will get the freedom to sell their produce at any place and person of their choice," he said adding the bills were brought after feedback from stakeholders that the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) were not doing justice to farmers.

The bills seek to bring competition and ensure fair price to farmers, he said.

"There are misconceptions being spread about the minimum support price (MSP). MSP is the government's administrative decision and not linked to the bills. MSP based procurement was there in the country, is there, and will continue," he said.

The NDA, with support of parties like the Biju Janata Dal and the YSR Congress, has the numbers to push through the bills. Three agri-sector bills were passed in the Lok Sabha last week amid farmer protests and opposition walk-outs.

The issue has driven a wedge between the BJP and its long-time ally Akali Dal, which walked out of the government after initially supporting the bills. The bills have stirred massive protests among farmers in states like Punjab and Haryana.

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