Govt to table farm laws repeal bill as winter session of Parliament begins; Opposition wants legal backing for MSP
On the first day of the winter session of Parliament on Monday, the Government of India is likely to move the three `Farm Laws Repeal Bill 2021` even as the Opposition plans to push for a law on minimum support price on agriculture produce. The bill will be introduced in the Rajya Sabha after it is passed by the Lok Sabha.
New Delhi: On the first day of the winter session of Parliament on Monday, the Narendra Modi government is likely to move the three 'Farm Laws Repeal Bill 2021' even as the Opposition plans to push for a law on minimum support price on agriculture produce. The bill will be introduced in the Rajya Sabha after it is passed by the Lok Sabha.
The three `Farm Laws Repeal Bill 2021`was circulated among Rajya Sabha members on Friday. Thousands of farmers have been protesting for the past one year against the three legislations and demanding they be repealed. Several farmer unions have pressed for a law on minimum support price (MSP).
Opposition demands legal backing for MSP
Various opposition parties on Sunday raised the issue of legal backing for MSP at an all-party meet called by the government ahead of the session.
The Opposition also raised the issue of compensation for family members of farmers who had died during the year-long protests against the laws. Congress has demanded a condolence resolution for the farmers who died during the protests. At the meeting, opposition leaders also demanded a discussion on the Pegasus snooping row, fuel prices and unemployment in the session.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not present at the all-party meeting convened by the government, Defence Minister and Deputy Leader of Lok Sabha Rajnath Singh sought cooperation from all parties for productive and smooth functioning of the House.
The government is ready for discussions on all the issues permitted by the Lok Sabha speaker and the Rajya Sabha chairman, he said. Talking to reporters, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said leaders wanted to ask more from the prime minister about the farm laws as there were some apprehensions that these legislations might again come in some other form.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi said there is no tradition of the prime minister attending the all-party meet. Some opposition leaders raised the issue of extended jurisdiction of the BSF in some states, including West Bengal.
TMC leaders Sudip Bandopadhyay and Derek O'Brien raised the issue of bringing laws on MSP and disinvestment of profitable public sector units. AAP leader Sanjay Singh, however, walked out of the meet, claiming he was not allowed to speak and raise issues related to farmers, especially on MSP.
Several parties demanded that the women's reservation bill be taken up in the session, sources said.
BJP, Congress issue whips to their MPs
The ruling BJP and main opposition party Congress have issued whips to their MPs to be present in higher attendance during the session. The Congress has convened a meeting of various opposition parties on Monday which is likely to be skipped by TMC and NCP leader Sharad Pawar.
According to Kharge, while TMC MPs would be busy at a party event in Kolkata, Pawar has to attend a marriage.
The BJP in its parliamentary party meeting on Sunday stressed on higher attendance of its MPs and asked them to come prepared to take on the opposition. Even in the NDA meeting, also held on Sunday, allies called for better coordination among partners of the ruling alliance, while few allies also thanked the government for its decision to repeal the farm laws.
Prime Minister Modi who usually attends these BJP and NDA meets, was not present in any of them. In the NDA meet, Apna Dal (S) leader and Union Minister Anupriya Patel raised the issue of 69,000 teacher vacancies in Uttar Pradesh. NPP leader Agatha Sangma urged the government to repeal the Citizenship Amendment Act in the line of the decision to repeal the farm laws, keeping in mind the sentiments of the people from the northeast.
About 40 leaders of various parties also met on Sunday at Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu's residence and discussed issues to be raised in the session. Some expressed concern over recent comments by the Supreme Court over functioning of Parliament and other legislatures, and the manner of lawmaking by them.
25 bills listed for discussion and passage
Besides the repeal bill, the government has listed 25 draft legislations for the session, including one to ban all but a few private cryptocurrencies while allowing an official digital currency by the RBI.
A Joint Committee of Parliament report on the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 will also be tabled in the two Houses during the session. The bill was brought in Parliament in 2019 and was referred to the committee for further scrutiny on demand of opposition members.
The main objection of opposition members was granting "unbridled powers" to the central government to exempt any of its probe agencies, including the ED and the CBI, from the purview of the entire Act.
According to the government's legislative business list, three bills have also been listed to replace as many ordinances.
These are the Narcotics Drug and Psychotic Substances Bill to amend an act of the same name, Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Bill and Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Bill.
The Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Bill and the Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Bill propose to extend the tenure of directors of the CVC and the CBI.
There is also a politically significant bill specifically for poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, The Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, to amend the SC and ST list of the state.
Similarly, there is another bill to amend the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes list of Tripura. Then, there is the High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2021, to amend the salaries act of judges of the higher judiciary.
The session beginning Monday will conclude on December 23.