Aditi Tandon &
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 29
Parliament on Monday passed the Bill to repeal the three contentious farm laws with the government approving it within minutes of introduction in both Houses and disregarding the Opposition demand for a debate.
In his customary address at the start of the winter session today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said disruption could not be the benchmark of parliamentary performance and urged the Opposition to debate in the Houses in line with the aspirations of the freedom fighters.
“The government is willing to discuss every issue with an open mind. The government is ready to answer every question. We want both questions and peace in Parliament,” the PM said, adding that the session was very important as the country was marking the 75th year of Independence with all citizens participating positively.
No need for discussion, oppn too for repeal
Both the government and Opposition parties are for the repeal of the three farm laws. So there is no need for any discussion. —Narendra Tomar, Agriculture Minister
In the Rajya Sabha, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, however, said: “Both the government and Opposition parties are for the repeal of the laws. So there is no need for any discussion on the repeal Bill.” The Upper House passed The Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021, by a voice vote amid din after the Lok Sabha similarly passed the draft law at 12 noon. The passage came three days after the first anniversary of farmers’ protests that started in Delhi on November 26, 2020. Parliament had enacted the laws last September.
Admitting that the government had failed to convince the farmers of the “benefits of the laws”, Tomar said the Congress in its election manifesto had also spoken of farm sector reforms.
“The Congress is adopting double standards. The PM showed a large heart by announcing the repeal on Guru Nanak Dev Jayanti,” the minister said in the RS, where Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge accused the Centre of acting out of electoral considerations after the recent bypoll setbacks and in the wake of five state elections early next year.
In both Houses, the Opposition insisted on a debate which was not granted on the grounds that repeal Bills were conventionally passed without a discussion.
The Congress, however, cited 17 repeal Bills which, it said, were discussed. In the Lok Sabha, TMC, TRS and DMK MPs were in the well when Tomar introduced the Bill at noon. Speaker Om Birla said he would allow a debate if the parliamentarians returned to their seats, but they did not.
After the repeal, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said the government was terrified of discussing farmers’ issues.
“We wanted to have a discussion on the MSP, Lakhimpur Kheri violence and on 700 deceased farmers but that was not allowed. The government is terrified. It does not have the guts to stand up for its actions,” Rahul said. He added that the PM had apologised to the nation which meant he accepted that his fault led to the death of 700 farmers.
“The government will have to give compensation to the families of 700 deceased farmers,” Rahul said, accusing the Centre of insulting the farmers by stating in the repeal Bill that “only a small group of farmers are protesting.”
The House proceedings is expected to be disrupted until a debate is allowed as Opposition parties said they would keep insisting on a discussion on the legal guarantee for MSP.
Both Houses were adjourned after the passage of the repeal Bill with no other legislative agenda taken up today.
The withdrawal Bill comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assurance of repeal on November 19. Once President Ram Nath Kovind gives his assent to the Bill, the laws will stand annulled.
The Statement of Reasons of the Repeal Bill, meanwhile, defended the laws as beneficial to farmers. It noted, “Even though only a small group of farmers are protesting against these laws, the government tried hard to sensitise the farmers on the importance of the laws through several meetings. Without taking away the existing mechanisms available to the farmers, new avenues were provided for trade of their produce….
“As we celebrate the 75th year of Independence — Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav — the need of the hour is to take everyone together on the path of inclusive growth and development. In view of the above the farm laws are proposed to be repealed.”
The final step
The Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021, now awaits the assent of President Ram Nath Kovind for the formal withdrawal
From ordinances to rollback in a year
June 2020: The Centre issues ordinances on the farm laws
Sept 17: The government gets the laws cleared in the Lok Sabha
Sept 20: Contentious laws get cleared in the Rajya Sabha too
Sept 27: President Ram Nath Kovind gives his assent to laws
Nov 26: Farm unions begin stir, 11 rounds of talks with govt inconclusive
Nov 19, 2021: PM Narendra Modi announces repeal of the laws
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