Rajasthan government writes to speaker, special session for farm bills likely from November 2
A senior official, on condition of anonymity, said the draft of the bills had been prepared and sent to the law departmentUpdated: Oct 22, 2020, 16:53 IST
To introduce bills to counter the three farm laws framed by the Centre, the Rajasthan government has written to the assembly speaker asking him to call for a special session from November 2.
The state government does not have to approach the governor for permission to convene a session since the last one in August was adjourned, not prorogued.
The fifth session of the 15th assembly had started on August 14 and adjourned sine die on August 24.
Parliamentary affairs minister Shanti Dhariwal said, “We have written to the speaker and the session is likely to begin from November 2.”
On the issue of asking for the governor’s approval, he said the last session was adjourned and not prorogued, hence the speaker could resume the session.
A senior official, on condition of anonymity, said the draft of the bills had been prepared and sent to the law department. The bills were along the same lines presented by the Punjab government. There were some changes, such as the one where state bills allow private entities to buy farm produce or enter contract farming, as the Central law envisaged, but the purchase from farmers has to be on minimum support prices (MSPs). There would be penal provisions on those paying less than MSPs.
The farmers would have the right to discontinue the contract after its tenure is over, he said.
On Tuesday, the Punjab assembly had passed farm bills and pledged to protect the interests of state farmers, who were concerned about the Central legislations, which they said might deprive them of the government-fixed MSPs for their produce and put them at the mercy of big businessmen.
In Punjab, MSPs are provided for wheat and paddy, but in Rajasthan, seven crops—wheat, gram, mustard, moong (lentil), urad (black gram), soyabean and groundnut—are covered under MSPs.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president Satish Poonia said the Congress was not just confused about the issue, but also about its leader and leadership, reiterating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured farmers that MSPs, Mandi system etc. would continue. The Modi government was committed towards doubling the farmers’ income, he said.
Poonia added the Congress did not want the condition of farmers to improve, that they were happy to oppose laws brought in by the Modi government in the interest of the farmers. “By calling an assembly session against these welfare laws, the Rajasthan chief minister wants to show his commitment and loyalty towards Congress chief Sonia Gandhi,” he said.
Refuting the BJP’s allegations, Congress spokesperson Archana Sharma said the party was committed towards farmers and the poor of the country. Through the farm reforms, the government of India had interfered in the state’s jurisdiction, which was not in the farmers’ interest. The state government would be bringing in laws to ensure that the farmers are protected and their produce is purchased on MSPs.
Political analyst Narayan Bareth said agriculture was a state subject and the Central government should not have attempted to frame laws. This portrayed a trust deficit between state and centre, especially states ruled by non-BJP parties, which was a matter of concern.
In July, the Rajasthan governor had returned three cabinet proposals on grounds that the assembly session be called on a 21-day notice.