Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha pass ‘Farm Laws Repeal Bill 2021’ amid ruckus

News Network
November 29, 2021

New Delhi, Nov 29: The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on Monday passed the "Farm Laws Repeal Bill 2021" to repeal the three contentious farms laws enacted in 2020, against which various farm organizations have been carrying out widespread protests for the past one year.

The bill, which was tabled by Union Minister for Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar, seeks to repeal the three farm laws - (1)Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; (2) Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020; and (3)Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020.

The bill was passed through a voice vote. Though opposition MPs belonging to Congress, TMC and DMK demanded a discussion, the bill was passed without any discussion.

The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Farm Laws Repeal Bills noted 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."

These laws, enacted by the Parliament in September 2020, have been stoutly opposed by several farmers organizations. Several farmers groups across the nation have been holding widespread protests and agitations for over a year since the passing of these laws demanding that they be scrapped.

On November 19, in a special address to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that the Centre will take steps to repeal the three farm laws in the upcoming winter session of the Parliament.

In January 2021, the Supreme Court had stayed the implementation of these laws until further orders, to facilitate a process of negotiation between the Centre and the protesting groups. The Supreme Court had also constituted a committee to hold the talks. However, the leaders of the farmers unions boycotted the committee.

The main grievance raised by the farmers is that the laws will result in the dismantling of the state-run Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees, and will disrupt the Minimum Support Price mechanism. The protesting farmers fear that the laws will pave the way for corporate exploitation. A batch of petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the validity of these farm laws and also questioning the competence of the Parliament in enacting the same.

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News Network
January 11,2022

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Bengaluru, Jan 11: Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka assembly, Siddaramaiah on Tuesday charged the ruling BJP with not implementing the Mekedatu project to expand its political base in Tamil Nadu.

Joining the padayatra organised by the Congress party demanding speedy implementation of the project on its third day, Siddaramaiah said: "To make its roots stronger in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, the ruling BJP is not implementing the project in the state. They are betraying the people of Karnataka for political gains. The padayatra is being organised not to give BJP any opportunity in this regard. There is only the state's interest in conducting the padayatra."

Reacting to state Home Minister Araga Jnanedra's warning that the Congress will have to take responsibility if there is a spurt in cases and a lockdown has to be announced, Siddaramaiah dubbed it as an irresponsible statement.

"Previous lockdowns have pushed the life of the common public to the brink. If at all the government wants to announce a lockdown, let them release compensation to organised and unorganised sector workers," he said.

The party workers from 11 assembly constituencies have arrived in Kanakapur city to participate in the padayatra. Party workers from Hassan, Mandya, Tumakuru, Chikkaballapur and Kolar will join the padayatra in the coming days. People are coming forward to join the rally voluntarily. This shows their interest in the Mekedatu project, he explained.

The BJP in Karnataka didn't show any interest in implementing the project between 2008 and 2013 when it was in power. "We came to power in May 2013. With the intention to implement it by September, we prepared a DPR and presented it before the Cauvery Water Tribunal. When we were in power, the BJP government at the Centre didn't allow us to take up the project. Now, the BJP is at the Centre as well as ruling in the state. People have elected 25 MPs from the state so why has it not been implemented," questioned Siddaramaiah.

"We are not scared of FIRs. The BJP cannot threaten us by lodging cases. Why are there no cases against Union Ministers of State Shobha Karandlaje, Bhagavanth Khooba who took part in public functions and rallies?" he said.

One lakh masks have been distributed in the padayatra.

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is not able to sleep with the response that the Congress is getting and he is trying to stop this at any cost, he said.

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News Network
January 13,2022

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Lucknow, Jan 13: Uttar Pradesh minister Dharam Singh Saini on Thursday resigned from the BJP, becoming the ninth MLA to break off ties with the saffron party just days ahead of the state assembly polls.

Earlier in the day, Dharam Singh Saini returned the security cover and residence allotted to him by the state government, which set off speculation that he was going to quit the BJP.

Dharam Singh Saini is the Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ayush, Food Security and Drug Administration.

The BJP’s Uttar Pradesh unit has witnessed a string of defections over the last few days, starting with cabinet minister Swami Prasad Maurya. At the time, Maurya had said that many more legislators would follow suit.

He said he was resigning due to "gross neglect" towards Dalits, backwards, farmers, unemployed youth and small traders. Over the following days, several other BJP MLAs Brajesh Prajapati, Roshan Lal Varma, Bhagwati Sagar, Mukesh Verma, Vinay Shakya among others, quit the party.

OBC leader Dara Singh Chauhan resigned on Wednesday from the Yogi Adityanath cabinet and appeared to be headed towards the Samajwadi Party. Chauhan said he had worked with dedication for the past five year but Dalits, the OBCs and the unemployed did not get justice from the BJP government.

Dharam Singh Saini is said to be a close aide of Maurya.

Earlier, Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) chief Om Prakash Rajbhar claimed that one to two ministers would quit the Yogi Adityanath Cabinet daily and this figure would go up to 18 by January 20. Rajbhar has struck an alliance with the Samajwadi Party for the 2022 assembly elections.

The Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections will be held in seven phases. Polling will be held from February 10 and the counting of votes will take place on March 10. 

Earlier, Shikohabad MLA and backward caste leader Dr Mukesh Verma has resigned from the party. "Swami Prasad Maurya is our leader. We will support whatever decision he takes. Many other leaders will join us in the coming days," Verma said.

In his letter addressed to the state BJP president, Varma alleged that the Yogi Adityanath government, in the past five years, has failed to address the problems of weaker sections, youth, farmers, Dalits and OBCs.

He said small traders and businessmen had suffered in the regime.

OBC leader Dara Singh Chauhan resigned Wednesday from the Yogi Adityanath cabinet and appeared to be headed towards the Samajwadi Party.

A day earlier, as BJP leaders brainstormed in Delhi on the UP assembly polls, Swami Prasad Maurya, also a prominent Other Backward Class leader, had quit the state cabinet.

Three other BJP MLAs announced their resignation from the party, seemingly in Maurya's support.

Yet another BJP MLA, Avtar Singh Bhadana, quit the party on Wednesday and is joining the Rashtriya Lok Dal, an SP ally.

But two Uttar Pradesh MLAs – Naresh Saini from the Congress and Hari Om Yadav from the SP – joined the BJP on Wednesday, a welcome development for the ruling party as it deals with the sudden defections from its ranks.

Maurya, Dara Singh Chauhan, (both ministers), Roshan Lal Varma, Brijendra Prajapati, Bhagwati Sharan Sagar, Vinay Shakya and Avatar Singh Bhadana resigned in past two days.

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News Network
January 11,2022

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New Delhi, Jan 11: The new rules for international passengers travelling to India come into effect from Tuesday, January 11. As per new rules, foreign travellers will have to undergo mandatory quarantine for seven days in view of the Covid-19 situation in the country.

All travellers who need to undertake testing on arrival have been advised to pre-book a self-paid Covid-19 test online on Air Suvidha Portal.  

1. The passengers need to submit a self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal and upload a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR report, conducted within 72 hours, prior to undertaking the journey.

2. On arrival in India, passengers will undergo thermal screening by the health officials present at the airport. The self-declaration form filled online shall be shown to the airport health staff. After testing

3. All travellers (including those 2 per cent who were selected for random testing on arrival and were found negative) will undergo home quarantine for seven days and shall undertake RT-PCR test on the eighth day

4. The passengers found to be symptomatic during screening shall be immediately isolated and taken to a medical facility as per health protocol. If tested positive, their contacts shall be identified and managed as per laid down protocol.

5. The Centre has also updated its list of 'countries of concern'. The countries included in the list are -- South Africa, countries in Europe including the United Kingdom, Brazil, Botswana, China, Ghana, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Hong Kong, Israel, Congo, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Nigeria, Tunisia, Zambia.

6. Passengers coming from these at-risk countries will mandatorily undergo post-arrival testing. They will be required to wait for their test results at the arrival before leaving or taking a connecting flight.

7. If tested negative, they will follow, home quarantine for 7 days and shall undertake RT-PCR test on the eighth day of arrival in India.

8. Travelers shall also be required to upload results of repeat RT-PCR test for Covid-19 done on the eighth day on Air Suvidha portal (to be monitored by the respective States/UTs).

9. If tested negative, they will further self-monitor their health for the next seven days.

10. International travellers arriving through seaports/land ports will also have to undergo the same protocol. Children under 5 years of age are exempted from both pre-and post-arrival testing.

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