Agriculture Bill: Farmer’s apprehension is Right

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Agriculture Bill: Farmer’s apprehension is Right


In India, there is a commotion these days from the streets to the Parliament regarding the agriculture bill. In the villages and towns of India, there is a discussion on the agricultural bill at the crossroads. As we all know India is a major agricultural country. About 75 percent of the population here depends on agriculture. But the sadness is when in such a country the Agriculture Bill 2020 is brought to the fore through an ordinance during a pandemic Carona and later it is passed by a majority in the upper house like Rajya Sabha without any discussion. The people of the country are not even told about this law. Or it can be said that the need to tell about this is not understood. However, about 60 percent of the people of the country are not aware of the bill which the farmers of Punjab and Haryana are protesting against in Delhi. In fact, the biggest farmers are at risk of being affected by the Agriculture Bill 2020. That is why the small farmers of India do not want to understand this bill and they are not giving their support to this movement. The NDA-led central government has brought the Agriculture Bill 2020.

The things mentioned in it are that through the Agricultural Products Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Simplification) Bill 2020, farmers will be allowed to sell their products outside the notified Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) i.e. fixed mandis. Under this law, no cess or fee will be charged from the farmers on the sale of their produce.
But the question is that if farmers sell their produce outside the registered agricultural produce mandi committee, the states will lose revenue as they will not be able to get a ‘mandi fee’. If the whole agribusiness goes out of the mandis, the commission agents will be unwell. But, more importantly, it could ultimately lead to the end of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) based procurement system.

The second bill is the Farmers Assurance (Protection and Protection) Contract Bill 2020 on Price Assurance and Agricultural Services. Agribusiness will have the right to enter into contracts with firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters, or large retailers to sell agricultural products at a pre-determined price. But farmers’ organizations believe that this law has been made to suit big industrialists. This will weaken the bargaining power of the farmers. In addition, large private companies, exporters, wholesalers, and processors can gain an edge in the agricultural sector.

The third bill is the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020. The proposed law proposes to remove agricultural products like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, onions, and potatoes from the list of essential commodities under normal circumstances except for ‘exceptional circumstances’ like war, famine, extraordinary price rise, and natural calamities and such commodities. But the limit of applicable reserves will also end. In such a situation, the farmers fear that this will give storage exemption to big companies, which will enable them to impose their will on the farmers.
On the other hand, the government is on the view that the system of Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops will continue.

In addition, the proposed law does not encroach on the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) laws of the states. These bills will ensure that farmers get a better price for their produce, increase competition, and develop infrastructure in the agricultural sector along with private investment and create employment opportunities.
But it will be necessary to discuss here in particular that the biggest concern of the farmers is regarding MSP and Essential Commodity Bill 2020. Even though the government is saying that it is not abolishing MSP, but the farmers are not getting the guarantee that this promise of the government will not come to naught in the near future, because the government will amend the bill or Talking of giving it in writing instead of taking back. But what happens when the government gives in writing. There is a need to put these apprehensions into legal practice.
Well-known columnist and writer Shailendra Chouhan explain that MSP was first announced in India in the year 1966-67 (by Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri) for the minimum support price for wheat. Then the green revolution had started in the country and increasing agricultural production was the most important goal in the country which was struggling with food shortage. The main basis for fixing the MSP of crops is the Agricultural Cost and Price Commission. Apart from this, the opinion of the state governments and the concerned ministries is also known.
The Commission on Agricultural Costs and Prices was established in the year 1965. Earlier it was called Agricultural Price Commission, which was changed in 1985. Its job is to recommend a minimum support price based on the cost of crops.
At present 23 crops are recommended by CACP. These include 7 grains, 5 types of pulses, 7 types of oilseeds, and 4 types of cash crops. Thus MSP was started only from wheat and today it has 23 crops. Governments also make changes to this list from time to time. Like around the year 2000 it included 24 crops. Now the MSP of sugarcane is fixed by the state governments. The big question is also how the stock of essential goods can be discounted to such an extent that anyone can do whatever he wants at any time. This initiative to legalize unrestricted hoarding of essential food items certainly warns of future danger. Now the question is where the farmers should go with so many apprehensions. The question is also whether the government should not bring the Agriculture Bill 2020 while first resolving the doubts and apprehensions of the farmers

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