Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Tuesday unanimously passed three farm amendment Billsrejecting the Centre's contentious farm laws.
All MLAs from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and AamAadmi Party (AAP) unanimously voted in favour of the resolution and the Bills. The two Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs were absent from the House during the special session of the Vidhan Sabha.
The bills, however, need the assent of the governor before they become laws. The governor could withhold assent and refer them to the president.
After over a month of vehement protest by farmers in the state, the Punjab Assembly introduces these three bills
- The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment Bill, 2020,
- The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment Bill, 2020
- The Essential Commodities (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2020
Key features of the bills
- As per The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment Bill sale of paddy and wheat in Punjab will not be valid unless it is paid equal to or greater than MSP. Any person who signs a contract where farmer is compelled to sell below MSP will be punished with imprisonment of three years and a fine
- Wheat and paddy are only two crops covered because these two cropsamounts to32 per cent of the contribution by Punjab to central pool.
- The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services(special provisions and Punjab amendment) Act, makes it mandatory for those entering into contract farming with farmers too will have to pay the MSP or over the MSP. Punishment of three years if the Act is violated.
- This Bill also allows the farmer to approach a civil court, besides seeking remedies available under the central act in case of any differences with the buyer of his produce.
- Under Essential Commodities (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment) Bill, the Punjab government will have the power to fix stock limits of food grains with state instead of Centre’s powers to fix stock limits.
- Along with the three farm bills, a fourth bill The Code of Civil Procedure (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2020 was also passed by the house.
- The fourth Bill introduced by the chief minister provides relief to the farmers from attachment of their land not exceeding 2.5 acres. This bill seeks to insert a provision for exemption of agriculture land not exceeding 2.5 acres from Section 60 of The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, which provides for attachment/decree of various properties – moveable and immoveable.