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Millennium Post

'Farm Bills sugar-coated pills, should be voted against'

New Delhi: With hundreds of farmers in Punjab and Haryana protesting over the three Farm Bills the government plans to make law, high political drama is expected on Sunday as the Rajya Sabha is likely to take them up with the Congress and many Opposition parties trying to put a united front to oppose these proposed legislations terming them as anti-farmer and pro-corporate, even as the ruling BJP is also reaching out to several regional outfits for support.

The Congress on Saturday said they undermine the food security system and urged Opposition parties to collectively oppose the Bills so that they do not become law in their present form.

Congress leader and former Union Finance minister P Chidambaram said the Congress' 2019 poll manifesto was based on foundational principles of Minimum Support Price (MSP), public procurement and Public Distribution System (PDS) to ensure food security.

But Prime Minister Narendra Modi and spokespersons of the BJP have "deliberately and maliciously distorted" the Congress manifesto, he alleged.

On Friday, the BJP had alleged that the Congress in its 2019 manifesto had promised to abolish the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act.

Chidambaram said it is clear in the manifesto that the Congress had promised to help farmers. However, this government has "surrendered" to corporates and traders, he claimed in a statement.

The Lok Sabha has passed three Bills related to the farm sector and these are the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, which seek to promote barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade in agricultural produce.

Calling them "sugar-coated pill", Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) on Saturday said the Bills should be opposed in the Rajya Sabha.

"Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said farmers and farming related Bills introduced by Centre in Parliament would do a lot of injustice to the farm sector in the country. Chief Minister said these Bills are nothing but a sugar-coated pill and should be opposed at all costs," the Chief Minister's Office said in a statement.

"They are saying that farmers can sell their produce anywhere in the country with these new Bills. But is it possible for farmers to take their small produce to long-distance areas bearing the heavy transport charges and sell it at good price?"

He also claimed that the Bills will cause huge losses to the agriculture sector and they are against the interests of farmers in the country, therefore they should be opposed and voted against in the Upper House.

The DMK on Saturday announced a meeting of its allies on September 21 to deliberate on the next course of action over the Farm Bills, alleging these would lead to hoarding of agricultural produce by the corporates.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, an affiliate of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has asked the government to send the three Bills to a parliamentary committee for greater scrutiny.

Senior BKS leaders said the NDA should have planned the Bills for the Winter Session of Parliament in December. BKS also wanted the government to bring a Bill in Parliament to ensure that farmers get minimum support price (MSP) for their crops and that companies pay above MSP for the agriculture produce.

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