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Sharad Pawar Rules Out Farm Laws-related Agenda In Assembly Session; Weighs In On Protests

Addressing the media, NCP chief Sharad Pawar revealed that the MVA government will not pass any laws negating the impact of the Centre's farm legislation.

Sharad Pawar, farmer protests

Image: PTI

Addressing the media on Thursday, NCP chief Sharad Pawar revealed that the MVA government will not pass any laws negating the impact of the Centre's farm legislation. While NCP and Congress had vehemently opposed the three agrarian laws, Shiv Sena had adopted a contrasting stance in both Houses of Parliament. However, all three MVA constituents were signatories to a joint letter addressed to President Ram Nath Kovind urging him to not give assent to the farm bills passed by Parliament. 

Mentioning that he had spoken to Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat, Pawar stated that this issue is unlikely to come up for discussion in the two-day Monsoon session on July 5 and 6. He explained that the state government was still studying the manner in which the contentious aspects of the legislation can be done away with. Previously, the governments of Punjab, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh had enacted new laws to bypass the farm Acts based on Congress president Sonia Gandhi's instructions.

Weighing in on the prolonged farm stir, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar stated, "There is a deadlock between the Centre and farmers. Hence they are still sitting there. The centre should have a dialogue with them". 

The impasse over the farm laws

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. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 specifies that the supply of foodstuffs including cereals, pulses, potatoes, edible oilseeds, and oils shall be regulated only under exceptional circumstances.

At present, the talks between the Union government and the farmers' unions have come to a standstill. This is owing to the fact that farm associations refused to agree to the Centre's proposal for suspending the implementation of the aforesaid legislation for one and a half years. The divide between the two sides further exacerbated on January 26 after the farmers' tractor rally turned violent resulting in 510 Delhi police personnel getting injured and extensive damage to public property. While the Supreme Court has stayed the implementation of the farm laws, a committee appointed by the apex court submitted its report pertaining to the legislation in a sealed cover on March 19. 

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