The opposition would push for the passage of the two bills -- the farmers’ freedom from indebtedness bill and the farmers’ right to guaranteed remunerative minimum support prices for agriculture commodities bill -- in the Rajya Sabha, reports Archis Mohan.
A united opposition plans to move two private members' bills in the Rajya Sabha next week to force the government to enact laws to ensure 50 per cent profit to farmers on the cost of their produce and deliver a one-time complete loan waiver.
At a meeting with the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, a forum of 190 farmer organisations, senior opposition leaders said their respective parties would push for the passage of the two bills in the Rajya Sabha, where the opposition continues to have a majority.
Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar also suggested that a coordination committee of parliamentarians and farmer organisations should be set up for better engagement on agriculture related issues.
On ensuring the passage of the two private members’ bills, opposition leaders pointed to the example of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, which was first introduced by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s Thiruchi Shiva in the Rajya Sabha, and had become the first private members’ bill in over 40-years to get passed when the united opposition supported it.
Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, dissident Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav, DMK’s Kanimozhi and Shiv Sena Lok Sabha leader Arvind Sawant, among others, spoke at the meeting.
The coordination committee was represented by Lok Sabha member Raju Shetti, All India Kisan Sabha’s Hannan Mollah, Swaraj Abhiyan’s Yogendra Yadav, Avik Saha and others.
The coordination committee has drafted the two bills -- the farmers’ freedom from indebtedness bill and the farmers’ right to guaranteed remunerative minimum support prices for agriculture commodities bill.
The farmers' freedom from indebtedness Bill seeks to "confer a right on indebted farmers to obtain an immediate one-time complete loan waiver", a right on all farmers to obtain institutional credit, and a provision for farmers suffering from natural disasters or distress to obtain protection from debt trap.
The farmers’ right to guaranteed remunerative minimum support prices for agriculture commodities bill seeks to confer a right on all farmers to obtain guaranteed remunerative minimum support prices with minimum 50 per cent profit margin over comprehensive cost of production upon sale of agricultural commodities.