The Congress on Monday hit out at the government over the introduction of three farmers’-related bills, alleging that they will give “freedom” to corporates to “brutally exploit” the farmers and take away the protection that the minimum support price provides.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi slammed the government’s ordinances, which are to be replaced by the bills introduced by the government on Monday, saying they were a “deadly attack” on farmers and agricultural labourers.
The centre on Monday introduced three bills in Lok Sabha on farm sector with Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar asserting that they will help farmers get a remunerative price for their produce as well as private investments and technology.
The government introduced The Farmers’ Produce Trade And Commerce (Promotion And Facilitation) Bill, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, which will replace ordinances promulgated by the Centre earlier.
Mr Tomar said the proposed laws will enable barrier-free trade in agricultural produce, and also empower farmers to engage with investors of their choice.
In a tweet, Mr Gandhi attacked the government over the issue, saying farmers are the ones who buy at retail and sell their produce at wholesale prices.
“The three ”black” ordinances of the Modi government are a deadly attack on farmers-agricultural labourers so that they do not get MSP and are also forced to sell their land to capitalists,” the former Congress chief said.
“Another anti-farmer conspiracy of Modi ji,” Mr Gandhi alleged, referring to the ordinances.
Congress’ deputy leader in Lok Sabha Gaurav Gogoi said it is very sad that the BJP government has brought in bills to “destroy the farmers and the agriculture sector”.
“Perhaps, for the farmers this day will be written in black letters as we are seeing that farmers are in distress, they are not getting proper prices for produce, trade is suffering and they are unable to give daily remuneration to those working on the farms,” he said.
The bills that have been brought in are not to help the farmers, but to help the corporate sector and big capitalists, he alleged adding that the “MSP that farmers get is in danger”.
The Congress’ attack came amid protests by farmers, including in Haryana and Punjab, against the three ordinances.
The Congress has been saying that all the three bills are connected and they are an “attack on farmers’ rights and income”, Mr Gogoi alleged.
“We are opposing them vehemently,” he added.
The bills will give freedom to corporates to “brutally exploit the farmers and take away the protection that the minimum support price gives them and the various mandi acts give them”, he alleged.
Mr Gogoi also slammed the government for doing away with Question Hour and curtailing Zero Hour.
“We strongly objected to the way, the starred questions have been suspended and Zero Hour has been curtailed, this is nothing, but, an attack on the dignity of Indian Parliament and curbing the rights of legislatures and taking away the accountability, the government has towards the people of India,” he said.
“The government has only consented to written answers, but, written answers are written by officers and bureaucrats. The people of India have not elected bureaucrats; the people of India have elected the Prime Minister and his council of Ministers. So, the council of Ministers and the Prime Minister are duty bound to answer to the people of India directly,” he said.
“We have seen, whether through the bills, whether through the suspension of Question Hour, the curtailment of Zero Hour, this moment of crisis is only being used and exploited by the BJP government to centralise their power to reduce the scope of the legislator and take away people’s power through their representatives,” Mr Gogoi alleged.