Agriculture Minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar may be proud of his contribution to the nation’s agricultural sector, but the parliamentary standing committee headed by senior CPM leader Basudeb Acharia is not quite impressed.
The parliamentary standing committee on agriculture found fault with the Maratha strongman for introducing the Agricultural Biosecurity Bill in Parliament without prior consultation with state governments.
In its report presented to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar earlier this month, the standing committee pointed out that there was no prior consultation with the states on the proposed legislation in spite of the fact that agriculture is a state subject and states, the implementing agencies. It is not for the first time that UPA ministers have found themselves on the wrong side of the parliamentary panel’s opinion with regard to their performance.
Several standing committee reports in the past have hauled up UPA ministers for drawing weak Bills and for lack of thorough consultative process while drafting historic pieces of legislation with a wide-ranging impact. Pawar had introduced the Bill that seeks setting up an authority for prevention, control, eradication and management of pests and diseases of plants and animals in the Lok Sabha in March last year. The Bill was then referred to the standing committee.
On being asked by the Committee if any Central Act was formulated without prior consultation with the states on an exclusively state subject, the secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture admitted, “there should be consultation. But this subject is not exclusively a state subject. This is not agriculture. This is agricultural biosecurity. But, we should consult with the states.”