Maharashtra stays August order issued for implementation of farm reform laws
The Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government on Wednesday rescinded a notification issued in August for the implemention of the contentious farm ordinances, which were replaced by three laws passed in Parliament this month. The move came after the coalition’s key ally, the Congress, threatened to boycott a state Cabinet meeting later in the day if this was not done.
The notification dated August 10 directed local authorities governing Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees to implement the three central farm ordinances issued in June.
The Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) representatives were likely to raise the issue of the implementation of the newly-enacted farm laws at the Cabinet meeting. The two parties have opposed the laws as “anti-farmer” and their implementation in the state.
The Maharashtra government is yet to take a decision over implementing the laws. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Monday advised the states ruled by her party to explore the possibilities of legislation under the Constitution’s Article 254(2) to negate the “anti-agricultural laws” and to prevent the “grave injustice” being done to farmers.
The Congress is in power in Rajasthan, Punjab and Chhattisgarh, and Puducherry. It is part of coalition governments in Maharashtra and Jharkhand.
The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government pushed three farm bills to deregulate agricultural trade. They were passed controversially in Parliament, overriding demands for greater scrutiny and voting.
Big farmers’ groups are protesting against the laws saying the deregulation will leave them vulnerable to powerful agribusinesses and in a weaker negotiating position than before.
Deputy chief minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar last week said the farm laws will not be implemented in Maharashtra. Revenue minister and Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat said all the ruling parties are against the laws and the decision on not implementing them in the state will be taken collectively after due deliberation.
The Congress has organised #SpeakUpForFarmers on social media to garner support against the laws. It also held a virtual farmer rally and gathered signatures from 10 million farmers opposing the laws. A delegation of Congress leaders met governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari demanding the withdrawal of the legislation.