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Sonia Gandhi asks Cong.-ruled States to bring in their own farm laws

-The Hindu

This will alleviate farmers from grave injustice done by Modi govt, says statement.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has directed Punjab, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Pudducherry Chief Ministers to explore the possibility of passing laws to override the three agricultural laws passed recently by Parliament.

A statement issued by party general secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal said that these States have been told to pass laws under Article 254 (2) of the Constitution that allows State legislatures to pass law to negate the “Anti-Agriculture” Central laws encroaching upon the States’ jurisdiction under the Constitution.

Article 254 (2) of the Constitution essentially enables a State government to pass a law, on any subject in the Concurrent List, that may contradict a Central law, provided it gets the President’s assent. In late 2014, the BJP government in Rajasthan took this very route to make changes to the central labour laws — the Factories Act, the Industrial Disputes act, and the Contract Labour Act — which subsequently got the President’s assent.

“This would enable the States to bypass the unacceptable anti-farmers provisions in the three draconian Agricultural laws including the abolition of MSP and disruption of APMCs in Congress ruled states. This would also alleviate the farmers from the grave injustice done by the Modi Government and BJP,” the statement said.

The Punjab government, led by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, had started work on these lines. It had been contemplating to amend the Agriculture Produce Market Committee Act and declare the entire State as a principal mandi yard. This would circumvent the provisions in The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, which was passed in Parliament. The declaration of mandi yards ensures that any procurement outside their ambit is considered illegal, farmers do not get a price less than the MSP, and the State gets its mandi fee.

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