Maharashtra Government Introduces 3 Bills To Counter Centre’s Farm Laws | Daily Current Affairs 2021
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Maharashtra Government Introduces 3 Bills To Counter Centre’s Farm Laws

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Bills to Counter Centre’s New Farm Laws

The Shiv Sena-led MVA government in Maharashtra on 6 July 2021 introduced three amendment bills in the assembly in a move to counter the enacted by the Centre.

These three bills are related to agriculture, cooperation, food, and civil supplies.

About the three amendment Bills:

  • The bills have provisions for higher than MSP rate for produce in farming agreement with traders, timely payment of dues, three-year jail term and Rs 5 lakh fine or both for harassment of farmers.
  • They also have provisions to give power to the state government to regulate and prohibit production, supply, distribution and impose stock limits on essential commodities.
  • These bills have been placed in the public domain for two months during which all stakeholders can hold discussions for suggestions and debates on their provisions.
  • Essential Commodities (Amendment), Farmers (Empowerment and Protection), Guarantee Price
  • Agriculture Related Agreements (Maharashtra Amendment)
  • Amendments to Central Government Farmer Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation).
  • The draft bills have been prepared by a cabinet sub-committee headed by Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.
  • The bills will be taken up for discussion and passage during the winter session of the legislature in Nagpur (held in December).

Provisions of the new Amendment Bills:

The new three amendment bills have provisions for:

Higher than MSP rate for produce in farming agreement with traders, ensuring timely payment of dues, three-year jail terms and Rs 5 lakh fine or both for harassment of farmers.

  • Farming agreements (between traders and farmers) will be considered invalid if the price of Agri produces being offered is not more than the MSP (minimum support price).
  • Furthermore, if the farmer is not remunerated within 7 days of the sale of his agricultural produce, a criminal suit can be registered against the trader for which punishments include three-year imprisonment and Rs 5 lakh penalty.
  • The Amendments to Centre’s Farmer Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) is to ensure that farmers get fair remuneration prices for their agriculture produce within a set timeframe. 
  • Co-operation Minister Balasaheb Patil said that the Centre’s farm laws offer no control over traders in case of failure of payment to the farmer after the sale of his agricultural produce.
  • The draft bill proposes that no trader shall trade in any scheduled Agri produce unless he has a valid license from the competent authority.
  • In case of a dispute, farmers and traders can seek assistance by filing an application to the competent authority and an appeal against the order of competent authority to the appellate authority.

Allotment of power to state government:

  • They also have provisions to give power to the state government to regulate and prohibit production, supply, distribution and impose stock limits on essential commodities.
  • The state government has the right to make laws and we want to suggest amendments to the central agriculture laws which we feel are anti-farmer.
  • In the case of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 which has already been amended by the Centre, there is no provision for the state government to regulate or prohibit the production, supply, distribution, imposing stock limits under extraordinary circumstances which may include price rise, famine or natural calamity.
  • Therefore, the state government proposes to amend the act further, in its application to Maharashtra, in order to have power over regulating and prohibiting production, supply, distribution and imposing stock limits on essential commodities during extraordinary circumstances.

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