Headlines October 15, 2020
Farmers boycott meeting over union minister’s absence
Representatives of over 30 farmer groups in Punjab boycotted a meeting with the central government on Wednesday due to union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar’s absence. Reportedly, Tomar was not present, instead the meeting was attended by agriculture secretary. Representatives demanded presence of the minister after which dramatic scenes unfolded at the meeting venue. Farmers, who had finally agreed to hold talks with the government over controversial farm law bills grew agitated and tore copies of the farm bills.
After weeks of speculation, the farmers had finally agreed to attend the meeting only yesterday. They declared that the protests will keep continuing unless the farm laws are scrapped. They also raised slogans against the central government.
The farm bills were introduced by the central government in the monsoon parliament session that took place in September. In spite of strong protests against the bill, mainly by farmers in Punjab, President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the three farm bills. The three bills are Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020. According to the new bill, farmers can sell their produce anywhere across India and deal with corporate companies, something that they found alarming.
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