On August 28, 2020, the Punjab Government passed a resolution against the farm ordinances of the central government.
In June 2020, the Union Government of India had issued three ordinances as follows
- Farmers’ Produce Ordinance, 2020
- Farmers Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020
- Essential Commodities Ordinance, 2020
Farmer Produce Ordinance, 2020
It was promulgated in June 2020 to provide barrier-free trade of farmers produce outside the markets that are specified under State Agriculture Market Laws. It allows intra-state and inter-state trade of farmers.
Essential Commodities Ordinance
The ordinance amended the Essential Commodities Act. Under the ordinance, the essential commodities such as pulses, oil seeds, onion, potatoes are excluded from the act. According to the act, the centre can include or exclude any commodity and declare it essential. This is mainly to make the commodities available to consumers.
Farmers Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020
The ordinance provided a framework to empower and protect the farmers with reference to sale and purchase of farm products. The provisions of the ordinance override the state APMC laws.
What is the issue?
According to the Punjab State Government, Agriculture falls under List II of Constitution and hence puts it as a State List. The promulgation of the ordinance is a direct encroachment on the functions of these states.
The Seventh schedule of the constitution deals with the powers of state and Union Government. They are notified as three lists namely State List, Union List and Concurrent List. The Union List has more important subjects than that included in the other 2 lists. The 88th amendment of the Constitution included “Taxes on services” as a new subject in the Union List.
Article 249 of the constitution provides powers to the Parliament to legislate subjects in State List in the national interest. However, the Centre can legislate on state subjects only on the following three conditions
- During National Emergency
- When two or more states request the centre to pass a resolution to legislate on subjects under State List
- When Rajya Sabha passes resolution
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