New Farm Bill 2020: Amid opposition protests, Lok Sabha passes 2 bills on farm reforms | India News
Protests by political parties and a section of agricultural organizations against three bills have heated up Parliament, but the old system may not favor a majority of farmers who could win with more options proposed by the new legislation.
The key provisions of the proposed legislation are intended to help small and marginal farmers (86% of all farmers) who do not have the means to negotiate their products for a better price or invest in technology to improve farm productivity. .
On the other hand, the laws are likely to affect influential ‘commissioners’ (known as ‘arhatiyas’ in Punjab and Haryana) in ‘mandis’ who do not want their control over farmers to be weakened.
The links between Arhatiya and farmers are really close, as the former function as informal bankers without collateral in times of need. But the legislation, government officials said, did not eliminate the system entirely and instead added an option. Fears that the MSP system would be dismantled were wrong, they said.
Issues and fears raised include the end of the ‘minimum support price’ (MSP) regime in due time, the irrelevance of the state-controlled Agricultural Products Market Committee (APMC) ‘mandis’, the risk of losing land rights under the contract farming rule, lowering the price of agricultural products due to market domination by large agricultural companies and exploitation of farmers by large contractors through provisions on contract farming.
However, Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar assured the Lok Sabha on Thursday that while farmers will now be freed from the restrictions of having to sell their produce only in designated locations, the acquisition at MSP will continue and the ‘mandis’ established according to state laws. it will also continue to work.
“Farmers will now have the freedom to directly market their products and will be able to obtain better prices,” said Tomar, adding that these laws will bring a revolutionary transformation and transparency in the agricultural sector.
Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi through his tweets sought to allay farmers’ fears about the MSP. After passing the bills, he tweeted saying that the MSP-based procurement system will remain.
The passage of landmark land reform bills in the Lok Sabha is an important moment for the country’s farmers and agricultural sector.… Https://t.co/u250l63D4Q
– Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 1600361595000
This land reform will provide new opportunities for farmers to sell their produce, increasing their profits. This makes our agriculture… https://t.co/C9JKgwCRkj
– Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 1600361611000
Calling the passage of the bills “historic,” Modi said these bills will free farmers from the clutches of middlemen and strengthen them by providing various alternatives.
A lot of power goes into confusing farmers. I assure my farmer brothers and sisters that MS… https://t.co/gpM1RXdeu2
– Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 1600361644000
Although the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) and the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), a body that brings together several other organizations, have been protesting against bills they believe are designed to help large corporate companies to At the expense of farmers, other groups, such as Maharashtra-based Shetkari Sanghatana, support such reforms.
“It will not only ensure a better price for agricultural products for farmers through competition and lower transportation costs, but it will also improve the country’s agricultural infrastructure and export potential. The fear of phasing out the MSP system is unnecessary. The MSP system will not end in India as long as the public distribution system (PDS) is here, ”said Anil Ghanwat of the Shetkari Sanghatana.
However, BKU’s Subhash Chaudhary, who has been at the forefront of protests against the bills in Delhi-NCR, said: “The new laws will only promote large private companies. Farmers will now simply have to survive at the mercy of companies. ”
The Farm Market Bill seeks to allow farmers to sell their produce outside of APMC’s ‘mandis’ to whoever they want. Anyone can buy their products even on the doorstep of their farm. Although the ‘commissioners’ of the ‘mandis’ and the states could lose ‘commissions’ and ‘mandi fees’ respectively (the main reasons for the current protests), farmers will obtain better prices through competition and reduced costs in transport.
“The state governments of Punjab and Haryana will be hit the hardest by the loss of the ‘Mandi Tax’, a good source of revenue. The ‘arhatiyas’ will also lose not only their commissions but also their traditional businesses, ”said Sudhir Panwar, an agriculture expert and former member of the Uttar Pradesh planning commission.
Contract farming legislation will also allow farmers to contract with agricultural companies or large retailers on previously agreed prices for their products. This will help small and marginal farmers, as the legislation will transfer the risk of market unpredictability from the farmer to the sponsor.
The 2020 Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill seeks to remove commodities such as grains, legumes, oilseeds, edible oils, onions and potatoes from the list of essential commodities. It means that the legislation will eliminate the imposition of storage limits on such items, except in extraordinary circumstances, such as wars and natural catastrophes. This provision will attract foreign / private sector direct investment to the agricultural sector.
The implementation of new agricultural legislation will be difficult even after the smooth passage of three agricultural ordinances in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
The reasons are many, but the most important is the lack of consultation with stakeholders, state governments, farmers and Arhthiyas by the central government at any stage.
Panwar said: “The implementation of new agricultural legislation will be difficult even after the smooth passage of these three bills in Parliament. The reasons are many, but the most important is the lack of consultation with stakeholders, state governments, farmers and the ‘arhatiyas’ by the central government at any stage ”.
Clock Amid opposition protests, Lok Sabha passes 2 bills on agricultural reforms