Kerala to move Supreme Court against farm bills, says move violates federal structure

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The CPI (M)-led Kerala government on Wednesday decided to move the Supreme Court against the agriculture bills passed by the Parliament three days ago saying the move was a violation of the federal structure as agriculture falls into the concurrent list.

Earlier state agriculture minister V S Sunil Kumar had sought legal opinion and got advice that these bills can be challenged in the apex court. The state cabinet which met on Wednesday discussed the issue in detail and felt that the Union government’s decision was interference into powers of states and against the spirit of federalism.

“Agriculture falls into the state list as per the seventh schedule of the Constitution. Not a single state was consulted before bringing these bills and farmers’ bodies were also kept in the dark. We feel these legislation will only benefit big corporates engaged in the sector,” said Kumar who attended the cabinet proceedings online after he tested Covid-19 positive. He is the third minister to test positive for Covid-19 after finance minister Thomas Issac and industry minister EP Jayarajan.

The minister said the state will introduce an alternate mechanism roping in agriculture co-operative societies and self-help groups in a big way. “Lakhs of farmers across the country are eking out a miserable life and many have committed suicide. Reeling under the pandemic, now the Modi government has brought in a fresh set of policies in the name of reforms. They will only serve interests of big farming corporates,” said the minister.

Though Kerala is not an agrarian state many farming bodies have pledged their support to the nationwide stir called on September 25. Two left MPs from the state, KK Ragesh and Elamarom Kareem, were among eight members from the Rajya Sabha suspended for making a noisy protest over the passage of these bills.

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