Maharashtra government introduces bills to counter Union’s Farm Laws

The Shiv Sena-led MVA government in Maharashtra on Tuesday introduced three amendment bills in the assembly related to agriculture, co-operation, food and civil supplies, in a move to counter the new farm laws enacted by the Centre that are facing stiff opposition from a section of cultivators.

The bills have provisions for higher than MSP rate for produce in farming agreement with traders, timely payment of dues, three-year jail term and ₹ 5 lakh fine or both for harassment of farmers.
They also have provisions to give power to the state government to regulate and prohibit production, supply, distribution and impose stock limits on essential commodities.

Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said the central farm acts were passed without discussion and several of their provisions encroach on rights of state governments.

“The state government has right to make laws and we want to suggest amendments to the central agriculture laws which we feel are anti-farmer,” he said.

The bills which have been placed in public domain for two months for suggestions and objections are – Essential Commodities (Amendment), Farmers (Empowerment and Protection), Guarantee Price; Agriculture Related Agreements (Maharashtra Amendment) and Amendments to Central Government Farmer Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation).

However, the opposition BJP termed the proposed amendments as “minor” and maintained they have already been incorporated in the laws passed by Parliament in September last year.

The draft bills have been prepared by a cabinet sub-committee headed by deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar.