Delhi govt has notified one farm law, examining the other two
Even before the farmer’s protest began along the city’s borders, the Delhi government had already notified one of the three controversial central farm laws to implement it in the national capital.
Senior officials said the Delhi government notified the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020 on November 23. The state development department is currently examining the remaining two farm laws. The law allows intra-state and inter-state trade of farmers’ produce beyond the physical premises of agricultural produce marketing committee (APMC) markets.
A senior official in the development department said the sale of vegetables and fruits was deregulated in Delhi in 2014, enabling trading beyond APMC-managed mandis. The latest notified law only adds foodgrains and poultry to the list of produce that can be so traded, he said, requesting anonymity.
The notification by the Delhi government drew flak from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which accused the Arvind Kejriwal-led government and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of “doublespeak,” saying it “quietly notified” the “so-called anti-farm laws” for Delhi while supporting the farmers protesting against the laws at the city’s borders.
“The notification exposes duplicacy of AAP and the Kejriwal government. They want to share the benefits of the new farm laws while misguiding the farmers,” said Manoj Tiwari, BJP MP and former Delhi unit president of the party.
A senior official in the chief minister’s office said that every state government was bound to notify these laws as they are enforced by the central government.
“The farm bills have already been passed in the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and have also been signed by the President. These are now laws for the entire country. It is enshrined in the Constitution that no state has the power to independently implement or reject these laws. Even the resolution passed in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha cannot do anything about these laws. The only way these can be tweaked or revoked is if the Central government does it,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
In its response to the BJP, the Delhi government said that the matter was “not an issue at all”.
“Selling of fruits and vegetables was already deregulated in Delhi many years ago. With the latest notification now farmers will be able to do the same for grains as well. The mandis have not been dismantled and they are continuing. The demand of the protesting farmers is that they should get MSP (minimum support price) whether inside or outside mandi, which AAP supports,” the party said in a statement.
It added that the BJP was clueless about how to handle the protests by farmers and was trying to divert attention of the public.