Amid the protests against the three farm Acts, the Punjab government on Wednesday decided to convene a special session of the state Assembly on October 19. In this session, the state government will table a bill to negate the impact of The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 passed in the Monsoon session of Parliament. This development comes two days after SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal threatened to gherao the CM's residence if a special Assembly session is not convened.
SAD also demanded the entire state be declared as a "notified mandi" and the repeal of the APMC Act amended in 2017. Earlier, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had instructed the states ruled by the party to enact separate laws to bypass the farm Acts under Article 254(2) of the Constitution. Moreover, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi had participated in the Kheti Bachao Yatra across Punjab from October 4-6 in protest against the farm laws.
To bring in Bill for amending state laws in order to negate the dangerous impact of #FarmLaws, #PunjabCabinet led by Chief Minister @capt_amarinder Singh decides— CMO Punjab (@CMOPb) October 14, 2020
to convene special 1-day #VidhanSabha session on Oct 19. pic.twitter.com/vNt5wcX9xv
The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 aims at freeing the farmers from the constraints of the state Agriculture Produce Market Committees whereby they would be able to sell their produce anywhere. Meanwhile, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 protects and empowers farmers to engage with processors, wholesalers, large retailers, exporters for farm services. This entails the provision of contract farming.
On the other hand, The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 specifies that the supply of foodstuffs including cereals, pulses, potato, edible oilseeds, and oils shall be regulated only under exceptional circumstances. President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the farm legislation despite being petitioned by Congress, Shiv Sena, NCP, LJD, AAP, RJD, IUML, TMC, Kerala Congress(M), TRS, JD(S), CPI(M), DMK, CPI and SP. The opposition has raised concerns about the exploitation of farmers by big corporates and the applicability of the MSP.