Punjab government introduces resolution against Centre's farm laws
Punjab became the first opposition-ruled state to introduce a resolution against the Centre's three farm laws, that stirred massive protests in the state. Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said he isn't afraid if his Congress government would be dismissed. For him, saving farmers from suffering and not letting them get ruined is more important, he said. Here are more details on this.
On Tuesday, Singh's government moved a draft resolution, aimed at nullifying the three contentious laws, which were passed in the Parliament last month during the Monsoon session. The Centre and farmers have been locking horns over the laws, which the former says will free them from constraints. But the farmers are worried they would be dependent on private companies and won't get their dues.
Last month, just as the farmers' protests rocked India, with the agitation being more concentrated in agriculture-dependent states like Haryana and Punjab, Captain Singh emerged as one of the strongest voices against the Centre. In fact, Congress sent a draft "model bill" to its state governments to negate the new laws. This was done after party President Sonia Gandhi suggested the legislative route.
Besides negating the farm laws, Punjab's draft resolution also seeks annulment of the proposed Electricity Bill. It also wants promulgation of "a fresh ordinance making the procurement of food grains on the Minimum Support Price [MSP] a statutory right of the farmers and continue with procurement by Government of India through FCI and other such agencies." Singh said the resolution has been vetted thoroughly.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Captain Singh revealed the sentiments regarding the laws but the Centre disregarded them, said the resolution. The "callous and inconsiderate attitude of the Government of India in attending to the concerns of the farming community" was also slammed. Further, the resolution read that the Assembly unanimously rejects the three Farms laws and proposed Electricity Bill.
"These three legislations along with proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 are clearly against interests of farmers and landless workers, and time-tested agriculture marketing system established not only in Punjab but also in original green revolution areas of Punjab, Haryana, and Western UP," the resolution read.
To note, the three Bills introduced by Singh, who is also the leader of the House, are named Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment Bill 2020, the Essential Commodities (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment) Bill 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment) Bill 2020.
After the resolution was introduced, Captain Singh told farmers, "We have stood with you, now it is your turn to stand with us." He added that dismissal isn't something he is worried about. "I am not afraid of resigning. I am not afraid of my government being dismissed. But I will not let the farmers suffer or be ruined," he said in the Assembly.
I had chosen to quit at the time of Operation Blue Star. I am not afraid of resigning. I carry resignation letter in my pocket. I'm not afraid of my govt being dismissed. But I will not let farmers suffer or be ruined. I will fight for justice: Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh https://t.co/1l9mlvu5ko pic.twitter.com/5FgV4DWBDT— ANI (@ANI) October 20, 2020
However, the CM expressed displeasure at the actions of some of the legislators, referring to the sit-in protest staged by AAP MLAs. Miffed that they were not given copies of the resolution, the party members spent the night inside the Assembly. AAP leader Harpal Cheema asked how can MLAs discuss the resolution if they aren't well-informed. He added AAP will support the state government.