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.
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.
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
- 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.