FARM BILL: GAIN OR LOSS TO FARMERS
The newly passed farm bills will give farmers the freedom to trade across states and empower them to turn into traders of their own produce and be in control of the process. The intent behind these three bills is that the new regulation will create an ecosystem where the farmers and traders will enjoy the freedom of choice of sale and purchase of agri-produce and promote barrier-free inter and intra-state trade and commerce outside the physical premises of markets notified under State Agricultural Produce Marketing legislations. There has been an uproar after the Parliament passed three agriculture related bills.
The problem with the existing system was that the farmers had been facing several problems. These problems included overproduction, low crop prices, high transportation costs, high-interest rates, and growing debt. To overcome this problem, parliament gave its nod to the contentious Agricultural bills.Amid the stiff opposition, there have also been voices that have come out in support of the bills with some stating that they would unshackle the workforce engaged in Agricultural sector .To cut through the noise, let’s move towards the Bills that are passed by the Government.
What are the three Bills in Contention?
Lok Sabha, through voice note passed the farmers produce Trade and Commerce Bill 2020 and Farmers Agreement of Price assurance and Farm service bill 2020 and Essential commodities bill 2020. Agricultural Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar, said the bills are not going to override the
MSP (minimum support price mechanism). As we know, these three bills were introduced in the parliament on September 14 to replace the ordinance issued during the lockdown. Opposition members in the Lok sabha plan to move a resolution against the Trade and commerce ordinance and the Price assurance ordinance. Farmers and farmer associations across the country have protested against the ordinance. After this, there was lot of controversy, here are Pros and Cons of the new bill that explain the changes proposed by them to the existing laws in the country.
Pros of the new farm bill:
The farmers had moved towards freer and more flexible system.
Selling produce outside the physical territory of the mandis will be an additional marketing channel for farmers.
The new bill has not brought any major drastic changes only a parallel system working with existing system. Prior to these bills, farmers can sell their produce to the whole world but via the e- NAM system.
The amendment of the Essential Commodities act which is one of the three bills under protest removes the scarce or fear of farmers that traders who buy from farmers would be punished.
This bills ensures that the farmer or the producer is given the same attention as production and farmer gets the best price for crops, so that farming survives.
The Prime minister tweeted on 20th September that MSP will remain and government will continue procurement.
Cons of the new farm bill:
The farm bill hampers the monopoly of APMC, allowing sales and purchase of crops outside the state government- regulated market yards.
The government declares MSPs for crops, but there is no law mandating the implementation. The only crop where MSP payment has statutory implementation is sugarcane for which FRP is determined. This is due to its pricing being governed by the sugarcane (control) order, 1966 issued under the Essential commodities act.
After discussing the Pros and cons of the farm bills, let’s discuss who is protesting?
Farmers in Punjab have organized three days protest against the bills. Opposition parties including TMC, Congress and BSP opposed the Agriculture sector reform bill saying they were against the interest of small and marginal farmers. Slamming the government, Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi said, this government has been eyeing how they can take the farmers’ land to benefit their capitalist friends, whether is the land acquisition act, whether in the industrial system and now this three pronged attack Indian Agricultural system through the two bills on farming. One related to APMC, other related to contract farming (contract Farming is not something new in our country) and the third which is essential commodities act– a three pronged attack to Indian farmers.
3rd year BSc ag.