The Kerala assembly, yesterday passed a unanimous resolution opposing farm laws while expressing solidarity with the protesting farmers. The laws were termed as “anti-farmer” and “pro-corporate” and it was hailed that these laws would push the farming community into a deep crisis.
The three farm laws include Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act and Essential Commodities(Amendment) Act.
The 140-member assembly consists of ruling CPI(M)-headed LDF and Congress-led UDF and a lone BJP member.
Rajagopal, from the BJP orally opposed some of the references in the resolution, which was presented in a nearly two-hour-long special session convened in compliance with COVID-19 protocols. He also abstained from voting.
The resolution opposing farm laws tabled by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan stated that agriculture markets are state subjects as per item 28 (Markets and Fairs) in the second list of seventh schedule of the Constitution.
“Since it is a matter directly affecting the States, the Central Government ought to have taken steps for inter-state discussions before the passing of the laws. It is a matter of serious concern that the laws were hastily passed without even sending them for the consideration of the standing committee of the Parliament”,the resolution
It was also alleged by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan that the central laws have been amended to help the corporates.
“The Centre had presented and passed the three agriculture laws in Parliament at a time when the agriculture sector was facing a severe crisis”Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan
“The three contentious agri laws were passed even without sending them to the standing committee of Parliament. If this agitation continues, it will severely affect Kerala, which is a consumer state,” said the Chief Minister.Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan
The resolution opposing farm laws further highlights that an apprehension was conveyed by the farmers’ about the laws’ effect on the Minimum Support Price (MSP). In this regard it was stated that the Central government needs to take note of the steep price fall of agricultural products and the rising farmers suicides and consequently assure MSP.
“What is required is a system where the Central Government takes the initiative to procure products from farmers at fair prices for distribution. Instead of that, the Central Government has created a situation which is conducive for corporates to take hold of the farm produces. The Central Government has gone back on its commitment to assure fair prices for products”the resolution
The resolution also mentions the apprehension that the impugned laws would weaken the collective bargaining power of farmers before large corporates and with no proper legal course, the farmers will be at peril.
The resolution opposing farm laws also states that food security is a matter of serious concern. When the government retreats from procurement and distribution, hoarding and black market of food grains would increase, which would eventually endanger food security. Dropping of food grains and pulses from essential commodities Act would worsen the situation.
Thousands of farmers have been protesting near Delhi borders since November 26 demanding the quashing of the three farm laws. This resolution opposing farm laws comes at a time when a batch of petitions have already been field before the Supreme Court challenging the farm laws. The Supreme Court in an earlier petition seeking to remove the protesting farmers from the border had passed an order stating that the protesting farmers have a right to continue protests peacefully. An inclination to constitute an independent committee to review the situation around these laws has also been expressed by the apex court.