TN Assembly repeals contract farming law enacted during AIADMK regime

A bill to repeal a contract farming law enacted during the previous AIADMK regime and another bill to increase the pension for former MLAs from Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 were among the bills passed by the Tamil Nadu congregation on Monday were accepted.

When the Law to Repeal the Agricultural Products and Livestock Abrogation Act in Tamil Nadu (Promotion and Facilitation) was considered, the AIADMK rejected it.

Former Minister and MLA Agri SS Krishnamurthy said this contract farming law, enacted during the AIADMK regime, protects farmers from falling prices and protects their interests. He wanted the government to reconsider its move and not repeal the law.

The TN’s 2019 Contract Agriculture and Services Act was based on a model law that was then discussed by the center.

Agriculture Minister MRK Panneerselvam replied that if this law were implemented, it would lead to a situation where farmers would be forced to get inputs from private companies and the price of the products could also be lowered by them by doing Demands on quality.

In addition, farmers could not go to court, he added. The Repeal Act was later passed.

In 2019, when the Contract Farming Act was passed, the then AIADMK regime had said that contract farming provided for a pre-production season agreement between farmers – either individually or collectively – and sponsors, and this shifted the part of the post-harvest risk of “market unpredictability” from the former to the latter.

It also fostered the partnership between the two parties, with the sponsor pledging to professionally manage input, technology, training, infrastructure and services before and after harvest according to mutually agreed terms.

“The small and marginalized farmer benefits from additional advantages of operational efficiency”, it had said, referring to a model law for agricultural production and cattle breeding contract agriculture and services formulated by the central government.

The AIADMK also opposed an amendment to the TN Act on the Marketing of Agricultural Products (Regulation) from 1987, saying that it was “undemocratic” and wanted it to be reconsidered.

This draft amendment is against the background of the resignation of members (on July 23, 2021 after the DMK took over power) in 24 market committees that were nominated during the previous AIADMK regime. After their withdrawal, special officers were appointed.

The memorandum of understanding of this draft law states that the change will extend the term of office of the special officers with effect from 30.

The draft amendment prepared by Panneerselvam was accepted.

Proposed by Chief Minister MK Stalin, a bill (TN State Commission for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Bill, 2021) to set up a commission to protect the well-being of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and to protect and develop their economic and social well-being past.

A bill was passed amending the TN Payment of Salaries Act of 1951, increasing the pension payable to former members of the Assembly and the now defunct Legislative Council from Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 effective April 1, 2020.

Also, “if an incumbent member of the Legislative Assembly dies during his tenure, the lump sum payable to his family is increased from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.”

The family pension payable to the legal heirs of the deceased members of the House and Council would be increased from Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,500.

Another bill was passed to amend the TN Shops and Establishments Act to provide chairs for employees who spend long hours in stores.

A bill was passed to amend the TN Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act of 1997 to speed up the process of acquiring land for industrial purposes by also giving the collector the power to issue a purchase notice.

The TN Assembly budget session began on August 13, and the House of Representatives was later adjourned indefinitely by Speaker M. Appavu.