Ahead of Parliament’s Winter Session on Monday, the Narendra Modi-led central government has called an all-party meeting, to be chaired by the Prime Minister, on Sunday to discuss the agenda for the session and other important businesses.
Vice president M Venkaiah Naidu, who is also the chairman of the Upper House of Parliament, has convened a meeting of Rajya Sabha floor leaders in the evening to discuss the proceedings of the Winter Session.
Such meetings are often convened to ensure smooth functioning of the House ahead of the commencement of the actual Parliament session.
The opening day proceedings of the seventh session of the 17th Lok Sabha will be quite significant politically, this time since the central government is set to introduce The Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021 – all-important draft legislation to withdraw the three contentious agricultural laws that spurned the year-long protests by farmers’ unions at the border points of Delhi.
However, even though the bill to repeal the three contentious laws has been approved by the Union cabinet and will likely pass the Lok Sabha in the forthcoming Winter Session, it might not be enough to appease the protesting farmers, who still demand guaranteed prices for crops – a minimum support price (MSP) for their harvests.
Marking one year of “dedication, fight, and commitment” with respect to the farmers’ protests, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said earlier this week that guaranteed MSP still remains one of the key demands for the movement and as such, the decisions taken by the government in the upcoming Parliament session will influence the future of the farmers’ struggle.
Meanwhile, the Opposition, too, is adamant to discuss the bill in the House to corner the government over the farm issues. The Congress has issued three-line whips in both the Houses, asking party MPs to be present on Monday.
The party also plans to hold a meeting with other opposing parties an hour before the winter session begins to work unitedly in raising “critical matters of peoples’ concerns”, and to finalise the strategy for both Houses to highlight the “failure of the central government, especially on three farm laws” and rising inflation and others burning issues.
Notably, the bill to remove the three farm laws, that is to be introduced in the upcoming Winter Session, states: “To enable the farmers to sell their produce at higher prices and benefit from technological improvements, farmers have been provided access to agriculture markets which will help them increase their income. With this objective three farm laws…were enacted, as a part of the government’s endeavour to improve the condition of farmers including small and marginal farmers.”
It also says that even though “only a group of farmers are protesting against these laws, the government has tried hard to sensitise the farmers on the importance of the farm laws and explain the merits through several meetings and other forums”. Without taking away the existing mechanisms available to farmers, new avenues were provided for the trade of their produce, the proposed legislation states.
The Winter Session is set to start on Monday, November 29, and will work till December 23.