On the lines of Punjab, the Rajasthan government also passed three amendment bills against agricultural laws brought by the Center on Monday. The house passed the amendment bills introduced by the state government by voice. The main opposition BJP protested against this and walked out of the house.
After day long discussion on these Bills, the ‘Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Simplification) (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill 2020, Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Agricultural Service Tax (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Special Provisions and Rajasthan Amendment) Bill 2020 was passed by the State Legislative Assembly. The purpose of these bills is to ‘neutralize’ the impact of the three recently passed agricultural laws on the farmers of the state.
The bills were introduced in the House on Saturday by the state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal. Responding to the discussion, he said that the state government has broadly made a provision in these bills that no agreement by a company or individual to purchase their produce with farmers at a rate lower than the minimum support price MSP will be valid. The bill includes imprisonment of at least three years and a fine of up to five lakh rupees for the harassment of farmers.
Dhariwal said that the three agricultural laws recently passed by the central government are being opposed across the country in the same manner as the land acquisition law was done a little earlier and the central government will have to withdraw these laws eventually.
He cited an order of the Supreme Court saying that agriculture is the exclusive subject of the state government. He mentioned that the minimum support price (MSP) was not mentioned even once in the agriculture related laws passed by the central government. Pointing to the opposition, Dhariwal said, “If you have not written the word minimum support price (MSP) even once in the three laws, why not doubt and accuse you.”
Earlier, while participating in the discussion, State Agriculture Minister LalchandKataria said that all the three laws brought by the Government of India are anti-farmer and have been a blight on the interests of farmer families. He said“every person of the state is connected to the peasant family. With these laws, the farmer will remain a laborer in the coming times. The big companies will take the land of the farmers on contract basis and do the arbitrary farming and the farmers will decide the market price of the crops as they want.”
Leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria and Opposition BJP targeted the state government for bringing amendment bill against the central government’s laws. Kataria and the speakers underlined the various initiatives taken by the central government for the benefit of farmers. He said that if anyone has truly worked to change the lives of farmers, then it is Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
After the discussion, Deputy Leader of the Opposition Rajendra Rathore said that “the act of passing the bill against the laws brought by the central government in the interest of farmers is happening in this House, we will not be a witness. We protest against them.” It is noteworthy that Rajasthan has become the second state to pass such a bill against the agricultural laws of the Center. Earlier Congress-ruled Punjab has also passed such a bill.