“The agriculture laws are a death sentence to our farmers. Their voice is crushed in Parliament and outside. Here is proof that democracy in India is dead,” the former Congress president tweeted while sharing a newspaper clipping.
President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday gave his assent to farm Bills passed by the Parliament in the recently-concluded monsoon session.
With this, all three bills have now become Acts – The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Service Act, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
The three Bills were passed by Parliament amid vehement protest by the Opposition parties. The Shiromani Akali Dal had on Saturday quit the National Democratic Alliance over the farm Bills issue.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried to allay the fears of the farmers, saying that the country’s agriculture sector has recently unshackled itself, in a reference to the agriculture reform Bills passed recently by the Parliament.
Stating that the farmers and the farm sector need to be strong to lay a strong foundation of “Atmanirbhar Bharat”, the Prime Minister said, “One who is grounded stays firm even during the biggest storms. During these tough times of corona, our farm sector, our farmers are a living example of this. Even during this crisis, our agricultural sector has again shown its prowess. Our farmers, farm sector, villages, are the foundation of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. If they are strong, the foundation of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ will be strong.”
Farmers have been expressing apprehensions that the Centre’s farm reforms would pave a way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big companies.