Acting on the advice of Congress Party’s interim president Sonia Gandhi, the Congress-ruled states are on track to introduce a bill to repeal the recently enacted agricultural laws. According to the party’s top sources, the leadership of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) has sent a draft of the ‘model bill’ to the state governments, which is likely to be called in a special session and passed in their assemblies.
The draft bill includes party-ruled states against new agricultural laws and to help ensure that no farmer gets less than the minimum support price (MSP) for his produce. The Bill has been named “Farmers’ Rights and Special Protection Provisions Bill 2020”.
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According to sources, the bill will decide by the state government when the agricultural laws will come into force in the state. “No private agency will be allowed to buy crops below the minimum support price (MSP),” he said.
It seems that by bringing this bill, the Congress is trying to show the model of the Congress to solve the problems of the farmers. The party reacted strongly against the bill (now law) in the recent monsoon session of Parliament.
The party has launched a massive movement against the laws. Rahul Gandhi is leading the “Kheti Bachao Yatra” in Punjab, which will be organized in Haryana via Delhi. If the Congress succeeds in persuading other non-BJP states to pass these bills, it will be a major victory for the party.
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The Congress party and other opposition parties have opposed the bill, saying that the central government did not discuss with the state government before the introduction of agricultural bills in Parliament. However, this move by the Congress party will also give a push to the debate on the federal structure of Indian democracy, as the episode appears to be center versus state.
Last week, Sonia Gandhi advised Congress-ruled states to explore the possibility of passing laws in their states under Article 254 (2) of the Constitution, which allows state legislatures to pass a law.
Parliament has recently passed the three Bills which came into effect after being given by President Ram Nath Kovind from 27 September. Those three bills are the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 on the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.