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Monsoon session of Parliament | Congress to raise LAC row, farm reforms

Former Union Minister and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh. File   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

Expressing hope that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be present in both the Houses of Parliament as the monsoon session gets under way on Monday, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said on Sunday that Mr. Modi’s statement to political parties that there was no Chinese incursion had weakened India’s position.

“The greatest damage to our cause has been caused by the Prime Minister’s own statement. He owes an explanation why he made that statement. It has single-handedly weakened India’s case and the status quo ante on LAC has not been restored,” he said.

 

During the session, the Congress plans to raise issues related to COVID-19, economy, job losses, poverty and airport privatisation. The party will oppose the Bills for replacing three agriculture-related ordinances and one that brought cooperative banks under RBI supervision.

Mr. Ramesh said two of the ordinances pertained to agri-marketing and the third was linked to the Essential Commodities Act.

Mr. Ramesh said the ordinances, to the disadvantage of farmers, promoted contract and corporate farming, and would hit the revenues of the States, apart from destroying the mechanisms of the minimum support price and public procurement, thereby weakening food security.

On the Banking Regulation Act, he said the Congress had five specific objections.

“Cooperative banks are part of the structure of cooperatives and ought to be regulated by the State governments and not by the Central government. If the ordinance becomes law, all key financial intermediaries will come under the control of the Central government, there will be more centralisation. The Congress stands for decentralisation and empowering the States,” he said.

Mr. Ramesh said the ordinance gave power to the Centre to change the membership structure of a cooperative. For instance, a farmer-promoted district cooperative bank could be transferred to the hands of non-farmers. “The RBI is being vested with more regulatory responsibilities. Its record of regulating banks in some NBFCs [non-banking finance companies] is mixed,” he said.

Two other ordinances were for a 30% deduction in the salaries of MPs and Ministers. The Congress would not oppose them, but would raise questions on the proposed spending of about ₹25,000 crore on the Central Vista project at a time when the economy was in disarray. The party would also oppose the two-year freeze on MPLADs.

PM CARES

Mr. Ramesh said the PM CARES Fund had no transparency as it did not come under the jurisdiction of the Comptroller and Auditor-General and the Right to Information Act. Some news reports suggested that certain Chinese firms had also contributed to the fund.

Mr. Ramesh said the six-month relief from payments provided through the proposed amendment to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, which could be extended to a year, was not in the interest of the MSMEs.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 2:49:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/congress-other-parties-to-oppose-4-legislations-govt-proposes-to-bring-in-parliament-to-replace-ordinances/article32592494.ece

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