Photo courtesy of The Indian Express

Non-Corona News

A farm bill where the Opposition threw the rule book at the chair, a supreme court nomination and a prime minister resigns. Read more on this week’s issue of Non-Corona News.

Sep 27, 2020

India’s Farm Bill Protests
On Sept. 20, the Upper House of the Indian parliament passed two out of three agriculture reform bills — The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill 2020 and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 — amidst chaos. The ruling party used its numerical strength to do so after multiple members of the Opposition cited health reasons to stay away.
Following the former’s denial of referral of bills to a select committee and an extension of the session without consensus, the Opposition erupted in anger, with one member throwing a copy of the rule book at the chair and another breaking the microphone. The move sparked farmer protests across several states like Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. In Punjab, agitation united 31 farmers’ organisations with differences in ideologies, making it the first ever unison of its kind. The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee has called upon farmers, peasants, agriculture workers, tribals, fishermen, rural traders as well as trade unions, political parties and democratic forces across the country to join the movement.
Trump Nominates Barrett to the Supreme Court
On Sept. 26, President Donald Trump announced the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a fiercely conservative justice, to the United States Supreme Court. Barrett, nominated to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal figurehead who died on Sept. 18.
The nomination, which requires confirmation of the United States Senate, has already been enveloped in controversy. Barrett was nominated 38 days before the presidential election on Nov. 3, an unprecedented situation in U.S. history. In 2016, Senate Republican leaders, supported by then-candidate Trump and even Barrett herself, refused to consider President Barack Obama’s nomination for another Supreme Court seat 237 days before the presidential election.
Barrett’s nomination could have far-reaching implications for the polarized country. In her past as a constitutional law professor, the judge was a fervent critic of the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act — popularly known as Obamacare — a healthcare law which helped provide insurance to millions. Barrett has also expressed radical views about abortion, leading to widespread fear among liberal groups that Barrett could be part of a conservative majority which repeals Roe vs Wade, the landmark abortion decision that has protected female abortion rights since 1973.
From a short-term perspective, the Supreme Court could be a crucial arbiter in the 2020 election. This imperative has increased over the past week, as President Trump has refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election. Recently, Graham suggested that the courts “would decide the election” and implied that Barrett would be confirmed for that reason.
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Designate Steps Down
Lebanon’s Prime Minister designate, Moustapha Adib, stepped down on Sept. 26. He was appointed on Aug. 31 to form a non-partisan cabinet to implement the French plan, under President Emmanuel Macron.
The plan aims to “take swift steps to tackle corruption and implement reforms needed to trigger billions of dollars of international aid” after Lebanon hit its worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war was amplified by the port explosion on Aug. 4. The local currency has lost nearly 80 percent of its value since then.
Sources quoted in Reuters shared that the resignation signalled a “collective betrayal” from the political parties in Lebanon. Adib’s efforts, with French backing, had faced multiple roadblocks with Hezbollah and Amal holding onto the key of the Finance Ministry.
Angad Johar is Senior News Editor and Abhyudaya Tyagi is Managing Editor. Email them feedback at
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