While moving the resolution, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in the one-hour special session that the country was now witnessing one of the most iconic protests ever by farmers in its history.
INDIA Updated: Dec 31, 2020, 12:05 IST
The Kerala Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution against the farm laws cleared by Parliament in September. The resolution was tabled by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who said that the three laws “will only help big corporate houses”.
The resolution said that farmers’ genuine concerns should be addressed and the Centre should withdraw all three farm laws.
While moving the resolution, Vijayan said in the one-hour special session that the country was now witnessing one of the most iconic protests ever by farmers in its history.
“Legislative assemblies have the moral responsibility to take a serious view when people have anxieties about certain laws which affect their lives,” Vijayan said, adding that agriculture was part of the culture of the country.
Kerala has vast experience in this regard. Kerala is a state that has successfully implemented the Land Reforms Act, said Vijayan.
“In addition, Kerala has made excellent interventions in resolving agricultural crises with the participation of local bodies and co-operative terminations. After the Green Revolution in the country in the 1960s, a system was set up to provide foodgrain farmers with a minimum price for their produce,” the chief minister added.
Kerala became the first state in the country to starts a Minimum Support Price (MSP)-based system for perishables. The scheme, which came into effect from November 1, fixed MSP for 16 varieties of vegetables.
The MSP is determined based on the cost of production and productivity. Though it is very similar to how the Centre procures cereals, what differentiates this system is that the MSP will be made available to farmers when the market price falls lower.
The cabinet observed that this will ensure price stability and good returns for the farmers. It will also help protect farmers from market price fluctuations.
The 16 varieties of crops include tapioca, banana, pineapple, cucumber, tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, beans, beetroot and garlic.
The southern state has no Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), so the move is being likened to government’s direct interference in price mechanism.
In fact, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had lashed out at the Kerala government over the issue. “Those ruling Kerala for years are joining Punjab farmers for selfies, but not doing anything for mandi system in own state,” the PM had said after releasing Rs 18,000 crore as the next instalment of financial benefits under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme last week.
“Farm reforms became necessary because poor farmers, who are over 80%, were getting poorer during rules of previous governments,” he had further said.