Govt defends farm laws in RS, Oppn demands fresh ones after consultations: Top developments

During a brief Question Hour of 15 minutes, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan while answering a query by a member said that till now, 22 countries have placed their demands for Covid-19 vaccines before India.

The Lok Sabha proceedings were on Friday disrupted by sloganeering by the Opposition parties demanding rollback of the farm laws with the house getting adjourned twice.

As soon as the Lower House convened at 4 pm, members from the Congress, Left parties and the DMK rushed to the Well of the House raising slogans and holding placards against the new laws. However, the members from the TMC did not participate in sloganeering.

Speaker Om Birla, however, continued with the Question Hour with Health Minister Harsh Vardhan responding to supplementaries on COVID-19 vaccination. As the Opposition members continued with their protests, Birla appealed to them to participate in the Question Hour as an important issue related to vaccination was being discussed.

Around 4.15 pm, the Speaker adjourned the House till 6 pm. The sloganeering continued even after the House resumed at 6 pm after which the House was adjourned for the day. According to sources, the Opposition will continue its protests when the Lok Sabha resumes on Monday.

Demand for India-made Covid vaccines from 22 countries: Harsh Vardhan

During a brief Question Hour of 15 minutes, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan while answering a query by a member said that till now, 22 countries have placed their demands for Covid-19 vaccines before India. The countries include Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, UAE, Maldives, Morocco, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, Algeria, Kuwait, South Africa among others. Of these, India has already supplied vaccines to 15 nations.

Govt’s offer to amend farm laws doesn’t mean shortcomings in legislations: Tomar

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar on Friday said the “farmers are being misled” and that “people in a particular state are misinformed”.

“Farmers’ incomes are doubled and contribution of agriculture to GDP increases rapidly. These agriculture laws are also an important step in this direction. I want to tell this House and the farmers that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committed towards welfare of farmers,” Tomar said, intervening during the discussion in Rajya Sabha on a motion thanking the President for his address to the joint sitting of Parliament at the start of the Budget Session.

Challenging the Opposition to highlight any mistake in the farm laws, Tomar said, “Farmers are being misled that others would occupy their land if these laws are implemented. Let me know if there is a single provision in Contract Farming law which allows any trader to snatch away the land of any farmer.”

“I made it clear that if government is ready to make amendments, it doesn’t mean there is any problem in farm laws. People in a particular state are misinformed,” the minister said, adding that the farmer unions and the opposition have not been able to point out any shortcomings in the three laws.

In Rajya Sabha, Oppn slams govt over handling of farmer protest

Several opposition party members highlighted the lack of progress in the ongoing farmers agitation in the national capital. Congress MP Pratap Singh Bajwa in Rajya Sabha said that along with depriving the farmers of the essential water and electricity supplies, protestors have “barbed wire fences around them, resembling a Berlin Wall”. These things are shameful for the world’s largest democracy,” he added.

Shiromani Akali Dal MP Sardar Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa highlighted the continuous efforts of lakhs of farmers on the Delhi borders to repeal the farm laws. “Unlike any other protests, farmers agitation has got support on the national and international levels, over lakhs are sitting and they deserve justice,” he said.

Dhindsa also said the country’s tricolour was insulted on January 26, and an inquiry to punish the perpetrators of the same should be launched. However, the blame of the violence should not be put on farmers, he added.

Expressing concern over the situation at Delhi borders, Bahujan Samaj Party MP Satish Mishra said that the cutting of water and electricity supply at protest sites is a human rights violation.

Similarly, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said that there have been attempts to defame the farmers’ protests by the Centre. Speaking about the R-day violence at Red Fort, Raut asked why has the Centre not actually found the real culprit behind the violence.

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