On February 9, several members of Parliament expressed their views on the new Agriculture laws and ongoing farmer protests. Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu expressed his opinions on Agriculture laws in Lok Sabha. During an almost 22-minute long speech, he made some claims but failed to provide any explanation.
‘APMC markets will be scraped’ – Did Singh mention clauses without reading them?
While talking about The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, Singh claimed that in clause 3 and clause 5, it is written that private markets will be established and APMC markets will be scrapped. Anurag Thakur, Minister of State for Corporate Affairs, interrupted him immediately and asked where it is written that the APMC markets will be scrapped?
Congress MP caught LYING in Parliament.— Anurag Thakur (@ianuragthakur) February 9, 2021
Fails to answer which clause says
“Mandis will be scrapped”.
Watch this 👇🏼 pic.twitter.com/Udx5eM124M
Confused by the rebuttal from the minister, MP Singh tried to re-read the clauses but apparently could not find the exact points which could back his claims. He kept on saying that clause 3 and clause 5 have the provision for the same, but in reality, clause 3 and clause 5 have no mention of APMC markets being scrapped.
Does America pay 40,000 billion dollars in subsidy to its farmers every year?
MP Singh claimed that the United States paid USD 40,000 billion in subsidies last year to its farmers. However, the amount was USD 46 Billion in 2020. Singh somehow multiplied the subsidies by thousand and forgot to check how much is the total federal budget of the United States that stands at USD 4.829 trillion or USD 4829 billion. He also claimed that the government would bring Google and WhatsApp in the Agriculture sector. Interestingly, Google and WhatsApp do not have any Agriculture business in India or otherwise.
Clause 3 does not even talk about APMC markets
Clause 3 of the said law allows the farmers to do inter-state trading. It says, “Subject to the provisions of this Act, any farmer or trader or electronic trading and transaction platform shall have the freedom to carry on the inter-State or intra-State trade and commerce in farmers’ produce in a trade area.” How Singh reached the conclusion that it means scrapping of APMC markets is difficult to understand.
Clause 5 talks about the electronic trading platforms but not about APMC markets
Clause 5 states that any person with a PAN number or required documents as prescribed by the Central Government or farmer producer organization or agricultural co-operative society is allowed to establish and operate an electronic trading and transaction platform for inter-state and intra-state trading of the produce. It also states that it will be the responsibility of the creator of the platform to ensure fair practices and arrange logistics etc. The clause also gives power to the government to formulate laws for such platforms if the government thinks it is essential for fair trade.
Clause 5 says, “(1) Any person (other than individual), having a permanent account number allotted under the Income-tax Act, 1961or such other document as may be notified by the Central Government or any farmer producer organization or agricultural co-operative society may establish and operate an electronic trading and transaction platform for facilitating inter-State or intra-State trade and commerce of scheduled farmers’ produce in a trade area:
Provided that the person establishing and operating an electronic trading and transaction platform shall prepare and implement the guidelines for fair trade practices such as mode of trading, fees, technical parameters including inter-operability with other platforms, logistics arrangments, quality assessment, timely payment, dissemination of guidelines in local language of the place of operation of the platform and such other matters.
(2) If the Central Government is of the opinion that it is necessary and expedient in the public interest so to do, it may, for electronic trading platforms, by rules (a) specify the procedure, norms, manner of registration; and (b) specify the code of conduct, technical parameters including inter-operability with other platform and modalities of trade transaction including logistics arrangements and quality assessment of scheduled farmers’ produce and mode of payment, for facilitating fair inter-State and intra-State trade and commerce of scheduled farmers’ produce in a trade area.”
Again, there is no provision of scrapping the APMC markets in clause 5.
No tax on trade is a problem, says MP Singh
MP Singh further said that there is a provision that there will be no tax on the private markets, which will lead to lesser trade in the APMC markets as there are state fees and state taxes applicable in APMC markets. The provision is in clause 6, but it only states that the state cannot impose any cess or levy under State APMC Act or any other state law.
Clause 6 says, “No market fee or cess or levy, by whatever name called, under any State APMC Act or any other State law, shall be levied on any farmer or trader or electronic trading and transaction platform for trade and commerce in scheduled farmers’ produce in a trade area.” It is understandable that if the farmer has decided to sell the produce out of the APMC market, it is already out of the proximity of such State Acts. Thus, State will not have the authority to impose any tax on the trade.
Yogendra Yadav is behind Red Fort violence, claimed Singh
Towards the end of his speech, MP Singh claimed that Yogendra Yadav and his party is behind the violence that happened on the Red Fort. He said that if the government removed him from the protest site, the communication between farmer unions and the government would be smoother, and the resolution will be reached quickly. He also claimed that Khalistani terrorist organization Sikhs for Justice had announced a day prior to the Republic Day that they will hoist the flag on Red Fort at 11:30 AM, which they did.