Farm laws repeal: Cabinet approval likely today, bill listed for winter session
The Union Cabinet is expected to approve as early as Wednesday the matter of repealing the three controversial farm laws, which triggered extensive protests around the borders of the national capital for nearly a year. According to reports citing officials familiar with the matter, the Union Cabinet will be meeting today, when it is likely to take up ‘The Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021’ for approval and give its official nod to the proposal to withdraw the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, which was passed by Parliament in September last year.
The Cabinet approval, if it is at all granted on Wednesday, will come days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement to scrap the contentious agriculture laws. In a televised address on Gurpurab, the Prime Minister had said that his government will be repealing the three pieces of legislation; he had also personally apologised to the people of the country and acknowledged that there was a “deficiency” in attempts to convince the farmers.
The central government has now listed The Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021, in its agenda for the winter session of the Parliament beginning on November 29. The agriculture ministry is deliberating on the exact dates to discuss the three laws in the forthcoming Parliament session, informed Union minister Prahlad Joshi a day ago.
The bill – which has been listed for introduction and passage among the 26 new bills on the agenda of the government – seeks to repeal the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance, Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act provides for setting up a mechanism allowing the farmers to sell their farm produce outside the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs). Any license-holder trader can buy the produce from the farmers at mutually agreed prices. This trade of farm produces will be free of mandi tax imposed by the state governments.
The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act allows farmers to do contract farming and market their produces freely.
The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act is an amendment to the existing Essential Commodities Act.