The Union Cabinet cleared the bill to be carried up in the 2019 Parliament session to repeal the three contentious farm rules against which farmers had been protesting for a year, five days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared his decision to remove the regulations.
The law, which has now been authorised by the Cabinet, will be tabled in Parliament’s Winter Session, which begins next week.
The “formalities” to repeal the three laws — Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 — were completed in the first Cabinet meeting since Modi’s announcement last week, according to Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur.
“We finished the paperwork to repeal the laws today (Wednesday) when the Cabinet met under the able leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Thakur added. “Repealing the three agriculture laws will be our top objective in the future session,” Thakur stated.
He did not, however, respond to a question on whether the government will introduce legislation to ensure the Minimum Support Price, which is another main demand of the protesting farmers.
The Prime Minister Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) scheme was also extended until March 2022 by the Cabinet on Wednesday.
Thakur stated that the cabinet has decided to prolong the PMGKAY for four months, from December 2021 to March 2022, under which over 80 crore people in the country are entitled to receive free food grains such as wheat or rice on a monthly basis.
“Cronies of individuals have benefited from the scheme since its inception in March 2020,” Thakur added.
“A total of Rs 53,344 crore would be spent on the initiative over the next four months,” he added.
“Over and beyond their entitlements, the free food grains under the PMGKAY will be distributed to beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act, 2013 and the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) scheme,” Thakur said.
The government’s priority at the time of the scheme’s establishment was to ensure that no family went hungry during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“India is the only country in the world that has been able to feed 80 million people for months.” 600 lakh metric tonnes of foodgrains have been allotted so far, with 541 lakh metric tonnes distributed. People in all 50 states and the Union Territories have received it. This scheme will cost Rs 2.60 lakh crore in total, including the four-month extension,” Thakur added.
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