NEW DELHI: Stepping up the pressure on ruling BJP over controversial farm laws, Congress has drafted a model Act to be adopted by states where it is in office to overrule the central legislations. The
will be circulated to states ruled by Congress and will also be offered to other non-BJP states.
The move comes four days after
Congress president Sonia Gandhi
urged party’s chief ministers to explore ways of overriding the recently promulgated farm reforms that have sparked off agitations and attracted allegations that they will end the MSP regime and put
at the mercy of corporates. Called the “Protection of farmers interest and farm produce (special provisions) bill”, the model law, finalised by in-house legal expert Abhishek Singhvi, says that in case of inconsistency between the provisions of the three central laws and state law, the latter will prevail.
“This Act will nullify the central laws,” a senior Congress member said. Under the provisions of the Constitution, however, such a law passed by a state legislature must recieve the assent of the President, which in this case may not be forthcoming.
The said Act spells out that three central farm laws have sparked outrage among a section of farmers. It says the laws would endanger 86% of the farming community who own less than five acres of land and need state protection for fair price contracts. It further lays down that ensuring protection of farmers is the prime responsibility of states and “agriculture, agri markets and land” are the legislative domain of states under the Constitution. The model law further says that no farmer shall be paid by private and other sale arrangements any price less than MSP.
With this initiative, Congress is looking to make a political point on the farm controversy. Despite the near certainty of the Centre advising the President against okaying such laws, Congress believes the move will mount further pressure on Modi government. Amid continuing farmers’s agitation, the Centre last month cleared MSP for six crops to assure the aggrieved bloc. The decision of old BJP ally Akali Dal to quit
the Union Cabinet
and the ruling NDA alliance has only highlighted the concern that the central laws are viewed as anti-farmer.