Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 20
Reiterating that the Narendra Modi government remains committed to the interests of farmers, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday said the Centre will examine the Bills cleared by Punjab Assembly and take a decision in best interest of farmers.
Tomar said the Narendra Modi government is committed to farmers’ interests and has taken several measures in this direction. “I have come to know that the Punjab Assembly has passed certain farmers reform legislations.”
“When these are sent to the Centre, the government will examine them and take steps for benefit of farmers,” he said.
The Punjab Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed three Bills to counter the Centre’s contentious farm laws.
Government officials said the Punjab laws will follow the ascribed protocol for legislations passed by the State Assemblies on matters that are on the concurrent list.
Whenever any Assembly passes such laws they are sent to the Home Ministry for scrutiny, as per the procedure subjects on the concurrent list. The judicial wing of the MHA consults the Law Ministry after which they are sent for the President’s assent, they said.
Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan said, “I have not seen the three farm bills passed by the Punjab Assembly. If the State’s bills are covered under Entry 14 of the State List under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, then the State is entitled to enact such a law. However, if Punjab is claiming its legislative competence under Entry 33 of Concurrent List under the Seventh Schedule, the three laws passed by the Punjab Assembly will have to be sent to the President for assent.”
While Entry 14 of the State List under the Seventh Schedule deals with Agriculture, Entry 33 of Concurrent List covers trade and commerce in, and production, supply and distribution of foodstuffs, including edible oilseeds and oils, besides a host of other subjects on which both the Centre and states can enact laws.