Today's Paper

Amid fierce protests, Rajya Sabha passes two farm Bills

Two of the three agriculture-related legislation piloted by the Narendra Modi government, aimed at liberalising the farm sector, were passed by the Rajya Sabha by voice vote on Sunday amid a din as the Opposition parties, enraged by the refusal of Deputy Chairman Harivansh to allow voting on resolutions they moved, broke microphones, stood up on tables and flung papers in the air.

The legislation — the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, were cleared by the Lok Sabha last week.

Death warrant: Congress

The Rajya Sabha saw a peaceful debate till 1 p.m., when the proceedings were scheduled to end. The Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, the Samajwadi Party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Aam Aadmi Party and the two Left parties vehemently opposed the Bills, asking the government to send them to a Parliament panel for further scrutiny.

Congress MP Pratap Singh Bajwa said his party would not sign the “death warrant” of farmers.

Among the BJP allies and friendly parties, the JD(U) and the YSR Congress supported the Bills. The AIADMK spoke against the Bills, with MP S.R. Balasubramoniyan calling them a way to “disinvest” in agriculture. Biju Janata Dal MP Amar Patnaik said the Bills had good intent but ignored the implementation problems. He asked the government to send them to a Select Committee.