After Parliament boycott, Opposition to meet President today over farm bills

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Updated: September 23, 2020 1:09 PM

A SAD delegation earlier this week met the President to request him not to sign farm bills passed by Parliament.

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad will meet President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday at 5 pm. The meeting comes amid opposition’s protests over the passage of two farm bills. Azad is the leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

The meeting comes a day after the opposition parties announced to boycott the remainder of the Monsoon Session.

Earlier on Tuesday, opposition leaders boycotted the Parliament to protest against the passage of farm bills and the suspension of eight Rajya Sabha MPs for heckling Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh on Sunday.

The opposition parties argue that the government is trying to hand over the farming sector to corporates and said September 20 will be remembered as ‘anti-farmer day’. They are alleging that farmers will not get benefit of the MSP.

According to the government, the bills give freedom to farmers to sell their produce outside the notified APMC market yards (mandis). This is aimed at facilitating remunerative prices through competitive alternative trading channels.

Farmers will not be charged any cess or levy for sale of their produce under the act. Besides, farmers will get the right to enter into a contract with agribusiness firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters, or large retailers for the sale of future farming produce at a pre-agreed price. It seeks to transfer the risk of market unpredictability from farmers to sponsors.

Azad has put forth three demands from the government. These include bringing a bill to ensure private players don’t procure food grains below MSP, that MSP be based on the recommendations of the MS Swaminathan committee report, and the Food Corporation of India should ensure that crops are procured from farmers at the fixed MSP.

Earlier this week, a delegation of Shiromani Akali Dal led by Sukhbir Singh Badal met the President to request him not to sign farm bills passed by Parliament. The SAD is an ally of the BJP.

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