A sub-committee of the Maharashtra cabinet, formed to study the contentious farm reforms of the Centre, met for the first time here on Thursday. The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government in the state wanted to frame laws that will make farmers "stronger", Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said afterwards.
The sub-committee is headed by Deputy Chief Minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar. Its other members are Thorat, Ashok Chavan and Sunil Kedar (Congress); Chhagan Bhujbal, Jayant Patil and Balsaheb Patil (NCP); Eknath Shinde and Dadaji Bhuse (Shiv Sena). The ruling coalition in the state has already announced support to the ongoing farmers' stir at Delhi borders.
"Meeting was held under the chairmanship of @AjitPawarSpeaks to review the unjust farm laws enacted by the central government. The central laws will harm the interest of farmers, the state government is in the mood of framing laws which will make farmers stronger," Thorat tweeted. Speaking to reporters before the meeting, Ajit Pawar said the issue cannot be resolved in one sitting.
"The committee will submit its report to the chief minister (Uddhav Thackeray) after discussing the laws. The chief minister will then discuss it with the cabinet," he said. PWD Minister Chavan also wrote a letter to Ajit Pawar on Thursday, seeking changes in the farm laws, saying that the central laws are "exploiting" farmers.
Punjab, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh — all ruled by the Congress — have enacted "good laws" and the Maharashtra government should do the same, he demanded. The laws passed by these three states will give relief to both farmers and consumers, and the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra too should amend the central laws on these lines to protect farmers, he said.