President Kovind Gives Assent To Three Contentious Farm Bills
Bikes are parked next to a tractor laden with cattle feed at a farm in Karnal district, Haryana, India. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

President Kovind Gives Assent To Three Contentious Farm Bills

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President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday gave assent to three contentious farm bills that have triggered protests by farmers especially in Punjab and Haryana.

According to a gazette notification, the President gave assent to three bills: The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020.

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The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 aims to permit the sale of agricultural produce outside the mandis regulated by the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMC) constituted by different state legislations. The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, provides for contract farming. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020 deregulates the production, supply, distribution of food items like cereals, pulses, potatoes, onion and edible oilseeds.

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The President's assent to these bills comes amid the Opposition criticising the manner in which they were passed in Parliament. Even NDA's oldest ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has parted ways on the issue of these farm bills as farmers in Punjab and Haryana intensify protest.

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