The Congress on Saturday alleged the three contentious farm laws would convert the ‘annadata’ (food providers) into bonded labourers and said the Narendra Modi government should “shun its ego” and abrogate these legislations immediately. The Modi government brought three agriculture ordinances on this day last year with the prime minister proclaiming that these would create new opportunities for the farmers, Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala said.
“However, with these laws the BJP government created opportunities for hoarding and black marketing of food grains for its capitalist friends while the farmers had to brave baton charge, water cannons and tear gas,” he alleged. After being promulgated as ordinances, Parliament in September last year passed the proposed legislation and were later made into law following presidential assent.
Surjewala, who is the chief spokesperson of the Congress, alleged that with these laws, the Modi government has wreaked havoc on the farmers. “It intends to convert annadata (food providers) into the bonded labourers through unethical provisions of contract farming,” he claimed, adding, “Today, on the anniversary of these black laws, the Modi government should withdraw its decision and abrogate these legislations immediately.”
Scores of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at Delhi’s borders since November last year demanding the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 be rolled back and a new law made to guarantee minimum support price for their crops.
The protesting farmers say the laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of minimum support price and do away with the ‘mandi’ (wholesale market) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates. The Congress party has been supporting the farmers and demanding the abrogation of the three agri laws. The Centre has, however, been maintaining that the new farm laws will free farmers from middlemen, giving them more options to sell their crops.
Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday accused the opposition parties of spreading misinformation and lies over the recently enacted farm reform laws, noting that the central government has done record procurement, with Punjab being the major beneficiary. The state contributed over 32 per cent of 411.19 lakh tonnes of the wheat procured, with over Rs 26,103.89 crore credited to bank accounts of farmers directly, he said.
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