Kerala Assembly passes resolution calling for withdrawal of agricultural laws passed by Parliament
The Kerala Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution against agricultural laws passed by Parliament in September. The resolution was introduced by Prime Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who said that the three laws “will only help large corporate companies.”
The resolution said that the genuine concerns of farmers must be addressed and that the Center must withdraw all three agricultural laws.
While presenting the resolution, Vijayan told the one-hour special session that the country was witnessing one of the most iconic farmer protests in its history.
“Legislative assemblies have a moral responsibility to take a serious attitude when people are anxious about certain laws that affect their lives,” Vijayan said, adding that agriculture was part of the country’s culture.
Kerala has vast experience in this regard. Kerala is a state that has successfully implemented the Land Reform Law, Vijayan said.
“In addition, Kerala has made excellent interventions in the resolution of agricultural crises with the participation of local bodies and cooperative layoffs. After the Green Revolution in the country in the 1960s, a system was established to offer food grain farmers a minimum price for their products, ”added the prime minister.
Kerala became the first state in the country to implement a system based on the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for perishable goods. The scheme, which came into effect on November 1, set the MSP for 16 varieties of vegetables.
MSP is determined based on cost of production and productivity. Although it is very similar to how the Center purchases cereals, what differentiates this system is that the MSP will be available to farmers when the market price drops further.
The cabinet noted that this will ensure price stability and good yields for farmers. It will also help protect farmers from fluctuations in market prices.
The 16 crop varieties include tapioca, banana, pineapple, cucumber, tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, beans, beets, and garlic.
The southern state does not have an Agricultural Products Market Committee (APMC), so the measure is compared to direct government interference in the price mechanism.
In fact, Prime Minister Narendra Modi lashed out at the Kerala government over the issue. “Those who have ruled Kerala for years are joining Punjab farmers to take selfies, but they are doing nothing for the mandi system in their own state,” the prime minister had said after releasing 18 billion rupees as the next installment of financial benefits under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM -KISAN) last week.
“Agricultural reforms were necessary because poor farmers, who are more than 80%, were getting poorer during the rules of previous governments,” he also said.