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In a scathing attack on Congress in Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Union Minister of State Anurag Thakur said the party has been misleading the farmers for its political gains by claiming that the agricultural produce market committee (APMC) mandis will be scrapped after the implementation of newly passed farm laws.

Thakur’s attack came after Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittoo, while delivering his speech on Motion of thanks to President’s Address claimed that APMC mandis will be scrapped after the laws come into force.

“If I’m talking about the first bill that the government brought, Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, under the clause 3 and 5: the bill will finish APMC mandis then the private Mandies will be established,” he said.

MoS Thakur objected to Congress MP’s claim and said, “he claimed that it is written in the bill that the mandis will be scrapped, we just want to understand under which clause it is mentioned that mandies will be scrapped?”

In response, the Congress MP said that there is a tax on government mandis, but under the new laws no tax will be imposed on private mandis, so the APMC mandis will automatically end.

Bittoo added that when a similar law was implemented in Bihar, “there were 9,035 APMC mandis in the state and today the state is left with only 1,619 mandis.”

However, MoS Thakur again asked the Congress MP to verify his claims related to the abolition of APMC mandis, and said, “For their own political gains, Congress is misleading the House and the farmers by saying mandis will be abolished after the laws are implemented.”

Farmers have been protesting at different borders of the national capital since November 26 last year against the three newly enacted farm laws: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.