Centre V/S State In India Part 2: Farm Bills

Centre V/S State In India Part 2: Farm Bills

Recent Farm Bills passed by the Government have opened arena for a Centre vs State tussle, as the state of Punjab has come up with its own Bills to nullify the ones passed in the Parliament.

Crux of the Matter

Punjab Farm Bills
3 Farm bills were recently passed in Punjab, governed by the Congress party. These Bills would nullify the Farm Laws recently passed by the Central Government to some extent.

Interestingly, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) rejected the Bill. SAD was an ally of the BJP before separating over disagreements in the Farm Laws.

Centre Laws
Central Government recently passed Farm Laws which:

  • Allow farmers to sell outside the state-regulated Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC).
  • Allow stockpiling of several crops.
  • No provision of Minimum Support Price (MSP) for farmers selling outside APMC mandis to private traders.

For more comprehensive coverage of the Farm Laws read: New Farm Bills In India: Features And Impact

So What Did Punjab Do?
Punjab has passed Bills to nullify the Central laws in the state with following provisions:

  • 3 years imprisonment for traders for “compelling” farmers to sell below the MSP.
  • Private traders would now come under APMC regulations and would have to pay market fees.
  • Punjab Govt may impose limits on stockpiling and decide what comes in the “essential” category.

Issues
The Bills require the approval of the Governor. Subhash Kashyap, former Secretary General of Lok Sabha, has claimed that the Governor has the following options with the Bills:

  • Give or withhold assent.
  • Send bill for consideration to the President of India, who may approve or reject, or even withhold the Bills “indefinitely”.

Kashyap claimed that approval from the Governor is “unlikely”. Moreover, the Bills have been criticized as the Minimum Support Price ‘legal protection’ is applicable only for Wheat and Paddy crops.

We understand these bills require assent from the President to take shape of laws, and we are not very sure about that. We may have to approach the Supreme Court to implement the bills passed by the state assembly.

Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Food And Civil Supplies Minister, Punjab
Curiopedia
  • P. Ayyakannu is a lawyer and farmer born in Tamil Nadu. He is famously known widely throughout India for his protest against the central government at New Delhi, demanding the agricultural loan in cooperative banks to be abandoned. 
  • The breadbasket of a country is a region which, because of the richness of the soil and/or advantageous climate, produces large quantities of wheat or other grain. The Punjab and Haryana regions are considered the breadbaskets of India.
  • CBI is exempted from the provisions of the Right to Information Act. This exemption was granted by the government in 2011 on the basis of national security. It was criticized by the Central Information Commission and RTI activists, who said the blanket exemption violated the letter and intent of the RTI Act.

Centre V/S State In India Part 1: CBI

Centre V/S State In India Part 1: CBI

Maharashtra withdrawing its general consent from allowing CBI to investigate into the state has initiated a ‘Centre vs State‘ debate concerning the organization, which has witnessed similar conflicts in the past for several reasons.

Crux of the Matter

Maharashtra Government recently withdrew the ‘general consent’ for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Consequently, the CBI now requires the permission of the Maharashtra State Government to enter the state and investigate.

The case of Maharashtra is an addition to the Centre versus State conflicts regarding CBI. Several states have withdrawn consent in the past, which include Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, etc.

Reason For Withdrawal
Uttar Pradesh swiftly transferred a TRP fixing case filed in the state to CBI. The move came days after Maharashtra police filed an FIR against Republic TV for TRP rigging. As per analysis of Shekhar Gupta, founder of The Print:

  • TRPs is not state-specific.
  • CBI, investigating TRP case in UP, could have made it “an inter-state case”.
  • CBI could have then taken over “related FIRs in all states” – including Maharashtra.
  • Maharashtra Govt reportedly wants to handle the Republic TV case by itself.

TRP Scandal Timeline

  • Mumbai Police announced involvement alleged involvement of Republic TV in a TRP scam. The announcement came on the basis on complaint by Hansa research group to Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC).
  • Notably, Republic found complaint of Hansa and claimed that no mention of Republic was there and that India Today was mentioned.
  • Mumbai Police filed an FIR against Republic journalists and editorial team for inciting “disaffection” towards police.
    Mumbai Police recently announced owners of Republic TV, News Nation and Maha Movie as accused in TRP scam.
  • Days after Maharashtra police filed FIR against Republic TV for alleged TRP rigging, another FIR was filed, reportedly on behest of an ad company promoter in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. UP govt referred the case to CBI.

CBI ‘Consent’
CBI was established in 1963 and is governed by the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.

  • Section 6 of the Act: Consent of state Government mandatory for investigating in that state.
  • 2 types of consent: General and Case-specific.
  • General consent: Facilitates smooth investigation in cases concerning Central Government employees in the state. All other cases required case-specific consent.

Impact Of Withdrawal

  • All cases (whether against Central Government employee or any private individual/organization) now require state consent.
  • CBI officers “lose all powers of a police officer as soon as they enter the state unless the state government has allowed them”.
  • Doesn’t apply on existing cases.
  • No consent required if any High Court or the Supreme Court directs CBI investigation.
  • CBI can still investigate cases involving people from such states if it files case outside that state.

Why Withdraw Consent?
State Governments withdraw General consent after alleging “loss of faith” in the organization, and allege unfair use by Central Government to target State Governments. The Central Government, on the other hand, claims that State Governments withdraw consent to conceal their own corruption and malpractices.

State Of West Bengal V/S Centre: The Case Of CBI

  • November 2018: West Bengal withdrew General consent from CBI.
  • February 2019: CBI went to question then Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar – reportedly went without an order from Court. Kumar investigated the Saradha chit fund scam.
  • CBI blamed State police for ‘destruction of evidence’ in the scam.
  • State Police detained CBI officials instead of letting them question Kumar, and released them after questioning.
  • Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee rushed to Kumar’s house.
  • Banerjee later sat on ‘Dharna’ (non-compliant demonstration) against the CBI.
  • Finally, the Supreme Court directed Rajeev Kumar to appear before CBI in Shillong (a neutral place). It also directed that no “coercive action” (arrest) should be taken against Kumar by CBI.
Curiopedia
  • P. Ayyakannu is a lawyer and farmer born in Tamil Nadu. He is famously known widely throughout India for his protest against the central government at New Delhi, demanding the agricultural loan in cooperative banks to be abandoned. 
  • The breadbasket of a country is a region which, because of the richness of the soil and/or advantageous climate, produces large quantities of wheat or other grain. The Punjab and Haryana regions are considered the breadbaskets of India.
  • CBI is exempted from the provisions of the Right to Information Act. This exemption was granted by the government in 2011 on the basis of national security. It was criticized by the Central Information Commission and RTI activists, who said the blanket exemption violated the letter and intent of the RTI Act.