Congress sharpens attack on govt over farmers’ issues

New Delhi, Sep 14 (IANS) The Congress on Monday once again flayed the Narendra Modi government over the ordinances and Bills related to farmers like sale of agricultural produce and essential commodities and claimed these would pave the way for the corporates to exploit the farmers.

Addressing the media outside Parliament on the opening day of the Monsoon Session, Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi said: “The first most important thing that we raised in Parliament was to oppose the introduction of ordinances and Bills related to farmers, agriculture and essential commodities etc.”

The Congress is opposed to the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020.

The ordinances seek to provide barrier-free trade of farmers' produce outside notified ‘mandis', and empower farmers to enter into sale agreements with private persons for farm produce.

Gogoi said that the Congress also demanded that the government tell Parliament when the issue of LAC violations in Ladakh would be taken up in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha for discussion, and “in what form will the Prime Minister speak on this issue?”

The Congress leader said that they were just seeking clarifications and not a debate on the opening day of the session.

“The entire country is watching — when will the India-China border conflict be taken up in Parliament? But no such indication was given in Parliament today.”

Gogoi said that the Congress members strongly objected to the way starred questions were suspended and Zero Hour curtailed.

“This is nothing but an attack on the dignity of Parliament and tantamount to curbs on the right of legislature and takes away the government accountability towards the people,” he said.

He said that the government has only consented to written answers during the session, pointing out that such answers are written by bureaucrats.

“The people of India have not elected the bureaucrats, but the Prime Minister and his Council of Ministers. So, the PM and his Ministers are duty-bound to answer the people's queries directly,” the Congress leader said.

“Whether it is through the Bills, suspension of Question Hour, curtailment of Zero Hour — this time of crisis is only being used and exploited by the BJP-led government to centralise power, reduce the scope of legislature and thus take away people's power exercised through their representatives.”

Gogoi said: “We want the government to step up efforts on cybersecurity, because when we confront a country like China, we are confronting it not only in land, sea, and air, but in cyberspace as well. The government should not be caught napping.”

He said that the government should assure the people in the coming days that all data collected by Chinese agencies has not been used for manipulation, or to gain more data on our military or other sensitive information.



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