|  |  | 

India Top Headlines

The amendment proposed by the government will bring parity between the commercial areas pvt and the APMC | India News


NEW DELHI: A key amendment to farm laws proposed by the government to maintain parity between private trade and APMC mandis by providing equal rates substantially alleviates concerns of mandi operators and states about lost revenue, but it has yet to find favor with the farm unions that oppose the new farm laws.
Although concern about “dismantling” the MSP system is a volatile topic in Punjab, where most of the agitators come from, a key factor is the substantial amount of fees, commissions and layoffs for intermediaries, mandi committees and the state government.
The commitment to equalize rates between these mandis and private trade still maintains the prospect of competition and possible losses if a neighboring state reduces its rate structure. The reforms, as envisioned by the Center, are intended to encourage states to rationalize tariffs and make the food grain trade more competitive, not only domestically but also for exports.
Although the proposals, specifically in commercial areas outside APMC ‘mandis’ and private traders, appear to be a “dilution” of the farm trade law, officials believe that concerns expressed by farmers have, in fact, opened the door to the necessary suggestions that can only improve the benefits for farmers and states.
In one of the proposals, the government expressed its willingness to make provisions for states to register private markets and merchants, and impose taxes / fees on private commercial areas to maintain parity with APMC mandi. “This will address the concerns of states that charge substantial mandi fees. On the other hand, it can allay farmers’ fears about dealing with unknown entities once the traders are registered, ”said an official.
Although service charges such as ‘mandi fees’ vary from state to state and most of them charge only up to 2%, their amount is quite high in seven other states where it varies from 5 to 8.5% with Haryana and Punjab: the center of the farmers’ protests, charging the highest percentage. The other states in the category of high ‘mandi fees’ include Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh.
Currently, the law allows anyone with a PAN card to buy from farmers outside of the APMC ‘mandis’, creating fears in the minds of farmers about the possibility of being misled by merchants who they believe may easily default on payments and disappear.
“Since the Center has now proposed to amend this provision, allowing states to register private traders and make their own laws taking into account local circumstances, we believe that these necessary changes will strengthen the law with broader safeguards mechanisms,” said another official. .
In regards to the contract farming law, the government’s proposed amendment will address a key concern of farmers on the issue of dispute resolution, which is currently limited to district authorities. The government now agreed to insert a provision by amendment, providing a civil court alternative for dispute resolution.
Similarly, for the registration of contracts, the government has agreed to make a provision by amendment to send a signed copy of the written agreement to SDM within 30 days until the states make their own arrangements to register such agreements.

Times of India