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Punjab CM Amarinder To Challenge Centre's Essential Commodities Act In Court

As the Lok Sabha cleared Essential Commodities Amendment Bill, 2020, Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh said that Punjab Congress will challenge it in the Court


As the Lok Sabha cleared the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, Punjab CM  Captain Amarinder Singh has said that Punjab Congress will challenge it in the Court. Terming it as a 'direct and deliberate assault' by the BJP on interests of farmers in Punjab, CM Amarinder Singh also lashed out at Shiromani Akali Dal - which is in alliance with the BJP at the Centre, stating that they have failed to put forth the interests of farmers. Farmers of Haryana and Punjab have been protesting against three ordinances of the Union Government terming them to be 'anti-farmers.'

On Tuesday that is the second day of the Monsoon session of the Parliament, Lok Sabha passed the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020. Punjab's main opposition party Shiromani Akali Dal's chief Sukhbir Singh Badal took part in the debate and highlighted the doubts among farmers on the bill.

READ | Haryana Farmers Protest Over Central Ordinances; Police Files FIR As Cong-BJP Lock Horns

Why are the farmers protesting?

Farmers are demanding a rollback of three central laws promulgated through ordinances on June 5 - Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance. Apart from this, farmers demand a loan waiver, a law for MSP - which will be 50 percent more than the weighted average cost of production (as per Swaminathan report, 2006 by The National Commission on Farmers), the continuation of the mandi system. The farmers allege that these ordinances are "anti-farmers" and will "destroy voice of farmers and leave them at the mercy of market forces".

READ | Centre transferred Rs 38,282 cr to farmers under PM-KISAN during Apr-Aug: Tomar

What are the ordinances?

As per PRS India, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance amends the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and empowers the central government to control the production, supply, distribution, trade, and commerce in certain commodities.  The Ordinance seeks to increase competition in the agriculture sector and enhance farmers’ income.  It aims to liberalise the regulatory system while protecting the interests of consumers. 

As per PRS India, Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance seeks to provide for barrier-free trade of farmers’ produce outside the markets notified under the various state agricultural produce market laws (state APMC Acts).  The Ordinance will prevail over state APMC Acts.

As per PRS India, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance essentially talk about contract farming that allows farmers to sell their produce outside of the APMC via a “framework for farmers to enter into direct contracts with those who wish to buy farm produce”. 

READ | Maharashtra: Nashik farmers protest Centre's ban on onion exports

READ | Punjab: Farmers protest Centre's farm ordinances

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