Despite stiff protest from opposition parties, India passes farm bills
NEW DELHI (INDIA) – In spite of mounting protests from opposition parties and a long-time ally of the governing party, Indian parliament passed new bills on Sunday which the government says will make it easier for farmers to sell their produce directly to major buyers.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the new laws will reform redundant laws and eliminate middlemen, permitting farmers to sell their produce to institutional buyers and retail giants such as Walmart.
The new laws also facilitate contract farming by coming out with a new set of rules.
Terming the bills anti-farmer, the federal food processing minister, who belongs to an alliance party, resigned in protest on Thursday. The opposition parties have said the new bills diminish the bargaining powers of farmers by allowing retailers to have tighter control over them.
In the Upper House on Sunday, some lawmakers of the opposition raised slogans, tore documents and made a dash for the microphone on the speaker’s table before the controversial bills were passed by voice vote.
“The passage of both the bills in parliament is indeed a landmark day for Indian agriculture,” senior cabinet minister Rajnath Singh tweeted.