Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Sonia’s root concerns stay in new Seeds Bill
About five years after Sonia Gandhi raised a red flag on the Seeds Bill, 2004, on the grounds of “a growing perception” that it was “anti-farmer”, the Agriculture Ministry is preparing to introduce an amended version in the current session of Parliament.
However, the Seeds Bill, 2010, reportedly also falls short of Congress’ expectations, and it has joined the Left and farmers’ organisations in demanding more changes in it.
Leading the opposition is the Congress regime in Andhra Pradesh. Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar planned to bring the amended Bill in the last session of Parliament, but the move was scuttled after Andhra Congress leaders met PM Manmohan Singh and Sonia to press for more changes in the Bill.
At a meeting convened by Pawar to evolve consensus on the proposed Bill on Wednesday, Andhra Agriculture Minister N Raghuveera Reddy, accompanied by many Congress MPs, demanded setting up of a regulator “to fix prices and royalty, taking into account intellectual property rights”.