Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram (file photo)
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram (file photo)

Centre has surrendered to corporates, traders: Chidambaram on farm bills

ANI | Updated: Sep 19, 2020 16:02 IST


New Delhi [India], September 19 (ANI): Urging the opposition parties to join hands against the agriculture-related Bills recently passed by the Lok Sabha, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Central government has surrendered to the will of the corporations and traders.
Chidambaram, in a statement, said that BJP spokespersons deliberately and maliciously distorted the Congress Manifesto 2019, which had promised to promote farmers producer companies/ organisations to enable farmers to access inputs, technology and markets, and establish farmers' markets with adequate infrastructure and support in large villages and small towns to enable the farmers to bring their produce and freely market the same.
"While our promise is clear, the Modi government has surrendered to the corporates and traders. Please note that the two farm Bills do not contain a clause that the price that the farmer will get from the private purchaser shall not be less than the MSP. Why is such a clause absent?" Chidambaram asked.
He said that the Bills undermine the only regulated market available to the farmer today, without creating alternative markets that will be accessible to the farmer.
The senior Congress leader remark comes amid farmer protests being held in Punjab, Haryana, and Telangana opposing the Centre over the recent Agriculture Bills.

The Lok Sabha had recently passed the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill 2020 and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill.
"The Bills assume perversely that the farmer and the private purchaser have equal bargaining power. They do not. The small farmer will be at the mercy of the private purchaser. If a dispute arises between the farmer and the private purchaser, the machinery under the Bills is so bureaucratic and convoluted that no farmer will have the strength or the resources to fight the purchaser. The small and medium farmer will be ruined," Chidambaram said.
"The Congress and other Opposition parties must join hands to oppose the Bills in every forum and ensure that they do not become law in the present form. Every party has to take a stand -- is it with the farmers or is it with the BJP threatening the livelihood of farmers?" he added.
Chidambaram said that the farmers need multiple accessible markets and choice and asserted that the Congress party's proposal would have given them that. The three pillars of our food security system are Minimum Support Price (MSP), Public Procurement and Public Distribution System (PDS), he said claiming that Bills undermine them all.
"Today, our farmers produce huge surpluses in many agricultural produce -- notably wheat and rice. On the strength of our farmers, successive Congress governments built, brick by brick, a food security system, that culminated in the National Food Security Act, 2013," Chidamaram said. (ANI)

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