After weeks of ‘yes, no or maybe’, the Maharashtra government tabled the three Farm Law Amendment Bills in the Maharashtra Assembly on the second day of the monsoon session. The government has sought suggestions from the public regarding amendments if needed in the proposed bills. As per an ANI update, a time period of two months has been given to send suggestions.
Maharashtra government tables three farm law amendment bills in Maharashtra Assembly, seeks suggestions from the public regarding amendments if needed in the proposed bills. 2 months time given to send suggestions.— ANI (@ANI) July 6, 2021
This comes shortly after NCP supremo Sharad Pawar making a u-turn over the farm laws passed by the centre. Pawar had recently said that there was no need to ‘reject them.’
“Instead of rejecting the laws in their entirety, we can demand amendment in the part about which the farmers have an objection,” Sharad Pawar had said while weighing on his views about the farm laws at a private university program in Mumbai on Thursday.
However, NCP leader Nawab Malik claimed that Pawar’s reported comments on amending the farm laws were in reference to the farm laws in Maharashtra and not the Centre.
Bills were not scheduled to be tabled for the session
Earlier this month, speculations were rife that the Maharashtra government may not table its proposed farm bill in the monsoon session of the state legislature for approval. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar had last week hinted that the state’s proposed bill may not come up during the upcoming monsoon session as ‘it should be brought up after deliberations with all stakeholders.’
“I am not sure if the farm bill can be brought in the two-day session. It is unlikely to come. It would be better if it is brought with desired changes after holding deliberations with all stakeholders,” Pawar had told reporters.
Pressure on state government to oppose the Bills
Reportedly, there has been increasing pressure from various farmers’ groups and activists on the state government to pass a resolution opposing the three farm laws in the ongoing session.
A few days ago, Raju Shetti founder of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana and activist Medha Patkar had allegedly met Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray and demanded that the MVA government should pass a resolution against the three laws to express solidarity with the agitating farmers.
“The Centre introduced the farm laws in a hurry in Parliament. We want the state government to introduce amendments after due discussions in the state legislature,” remarked Shetti.
To this Thackeray reassuring the farmers said, “Let the Centre do whatever they want to, but the state government will not do anything which is against the interest of the farmers,” while addressing an event in the backdrop of Maharashtra Agriculture Day on July 1.
In the hindsight, a cabinet subcommittee chaired by Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat has been constituted by the state government to enact its own law to ensure the payment of minimum support price to the farmers and act against traders for its non-payment.
Replicating the intent of provisions from the Centre’s Law, this new law envisages imprisonment up to three years for those for cheating farmers, said a senior minister.