President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday gave his assent to all the three contentious farm bills, which opposition parties say are anti-farmer and corporate-friendly, after they were recently passed by Parliament during its monsoon session amid vehement protests.
The three bills – The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Service Bill, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 – have now become acts.
The government, which has said that these landmark legislations will make farmers self-reliant, has notified them. More than a dozen opposition parties had urged President Kovind not to sign the contentious bills, alleging that they were passed “unconstitutionally” in “complete disregard” of parliamentary norms.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) even pulled out of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition at the Centre over the passage of the contentious farm bills, which the Punjab-based party said were “lethal and disastrous”. The SAD and the BJP had been allies since 1996 when both forged a pre-poll alliance ahead of the 1997 Punjab assembly elections which brought them to power.Farmers, especially in Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting against the bills and have said the Centre’s farm reforms would pave a way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big companies.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been trying to allay the fears of the farmers, saying that the country’s agriculture sector has unshackled itself after the passage of these bills. Farmers and the farm sector, Modi said, need to be strong to lay a strong foundation of “Atmanirbhar Bharat”.