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Legislative comment : Farmers Bill

INTRODUCTION

Recently India noticed a robust protest after the Parliament exceeded 3 agriculture associated bill. On September 27, 2020, the president of India Mr. Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the 3 farm reform payments. These payments had been handed through the parliament withinside the lately concluded Monsoon season. Our Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi hailed through passage of those payments through saying “A watershed second withinside the records of Indian agriculture!”
Minister of Food Processing Industries and the handiest SAD consultant withinside the Modi government, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, resigned from the Union Cabinet, protesting in opposition to the payments, alleging the Bills to be adverse to Punjab’s agriculture sector. Following this, the BJP’s oldest ally, Shiromani Akali Dal have termed those reforms as “anti-farmer” and stop the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). These payments presently face excessive objection through the competition in each the houses. The payments have additionally caused intensifying protests through farmers in states like Punjab, Haryana, and Madhya Pradesh in spite of COVID-19. Farmers agencies like Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) and the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) were protesting the payments from September 2020 itself. They have raised the slogan of ‘KISAN BACHAO MANDI BACHAO’.

PROVISIONS OF NEW ACTS

Three payments that have been handed are Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill. Each of the 3 payments offers with one component of agricultural marketing. Collectively, they may be designed to lessen obstacles that various agri-meals deliver chain actors face in connecting to farmers. They goal to achieve this via way of means of lowering reliance on conventional APMC- intermediariprimarily based totall yes (‘disintermediation’) and through growing a unified country wide market (“one nation- one market”). Despite the titles of the payments highlighting ‘farmers’, as opposed to focusing immediately on farmer welfare all 3 payments depend overwhelmingly on deliver chain actors to take gain of the brand new guidelines and proportion their profits with the farmers.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill 2020 or The Market Place Law

According to the brand new marketplace area regulation, farmers can promote their produce everywhere now no longer simply withinside the APMC authorised mandis or marketplace locations however actually everywhere i.e., they are able to promote withinside the state, out of doors the state, or in the event that they want they also can promote it online. Which method in line with union authorities this regulation is been delivered in to offer freedom of desire to farmers they may have loads of marketplaces. The authorities says, that is really going to do properly to them due to the fact they are able to select from numerous options. It absolutely open up the sale of produce outdoor the Agricultural Produce Market Committees, or the APMCs. It now no longer most effective creates an e-toll road for buying and selling and transactions, however additionally creates a shape for e-buying and selling of agriculture produce. Farmers are allowed to promote their produce outdoor of the APMCs, and that creates a opportunity for extra opposition and higher pricing for farmers. In different words, the marketplace is thrown absolutely open for the personal gamers to return back withinside the agriculture quarter and deal at once with the farmers.
The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill 2020 or The Contract Farming Law
Farmers can input into ‘written agreements’ with all and sundry, which includes a company, and promote them their produce for a fixed length of time, as in keeping with the settlement. In different words, agencies can now have contracts with farmers for purchasing with farmers for purchasing their produce. They can set the charge for the produce, the requirements and characteristics and different legalities may be referred to beforehand. The Union authorities says this could defend and empower farmers to promote to everybody an entire seller, a retail large or an exporter. They may have written contracts so that you can defend the farmer in case the client attempts to cheat them. And they also can promote destiny produce today, in keeping with the authorities. It creates a framework for settlement farming. It affords a template on the country wide degree of farming agreements, in regards to agribusiness, processing, and the complete variety of offerings such as wholesalers, exporters and big shops on the market of farming produce at a jointly pre-agreed fee.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020 or Essential Commodities Amendment

Essential Commodities Act became first delivered in many years returned in 1955. The Act essentially controls the production, deliver and the distribution of sure commodities which can be acknowledged to be critical. So if an object comes beneathneath this Act for example a meals object or an vital drug then corporations and supermarkets can’t hoard those gadgets while there’s a shortage, additionally they can’t artificially boom the fees etc. the listing of important commodities as according to the authentic act includes: Drugs (medicines); Fertilizers (inorganic, organic, mixed); Foodstuff (which includes safe to eat oilseeds and oils); hank yarn made totally from cotton; Petroleum and petroleum products; Raw jute and jute textiles; Seeds (meals crops, culmination and vegetables, farm animals fodder and jute seeds). The new change has eliminated meals stuff including Potato, Cereals, Pulses, suitable for eating oilseeds and oils, from the listing of crucial commodities this means that until there’s a dire situations like a strugglefare or famine or an superb rate upward push those commodities will now no longer be taken into consideration beneathneath the crucial commodities listing.

BRIEF HISTORY

India is and has been an agrarian economy. After India received Independence in 1947, farmers used to promote their merchandise direct to the consumers. But because of winning machine of Zamidars or cash creditors, farmers have been trapped in perpetual debt. Farmers want to shop for seeds, fertilizers and different matters required for developing a crop, for purchasing all this stuff you want cash so farmers took loans from Zamidars or cash creditors who used to fee a completely excessive hobby price at the major quantity. Farmers had been not able to pay this kind of hefty quantity and in such instances to get their cash again cash creditors or the Zamidars used to shop for the entire produce of the farmers but, they paid very much less quantity to farmers due to the fact farmers did now no longer have the bargaining power. Now to once more sow their fields farmers required cash so this cycle continued, and farmers have been continually in debt.  

This method changed into very exploitative in an effort to assist the farmers and cease this device authorities of India brought APMC (Agriculture Produce Market Committee) Act. It became added in 1960’s on the very identical time while inexperienced revolution began out in India many professionals accept as true with that withinside the primary of inexperienced revolution APMC Act performed a first-rate role. APMCs installation Mandis or Markets throughout India in which farmer’s produce changed into sold. There are round 7000 APMCs in India at present. Now, the procedure of promoting the produce is that once harvesting vegetation are introduced to the Mandis or Markets in which they promote the produce thru auctioning or charge discovery. Whom are the farmers promoting the plants? Not to the authorities however the middlemen or Arhatiyas. Middlemen are humans among the farmer and the store or large traders. For example, farmers promote their veggies to the middlemen after which the vegetable seller buys vegetable from the middleman, vegetable dealer will now no longer purchase without delay from the farmers. Government offers license to those Middlemen; shops, garage centers etc. are supplied to them in APMC markets. Many humans paintings in those APMCs, there may be garage of grains, so it calls for laborers, accountants so general it’s far a self-thriving ecosystem. One aspect which have to be stated right here is those APMC markets are regulated through nation governments, a tax is charged on every transaction so in a manner authorities is aware of at rate produce is being sold.

Now what approximately the produce that aren’t sold through the middlemen in those markets? This is being sold with the aid of using the authorities at MSP (Minimum Support Price). MSP is regular at some point of the country. MSP additionally ensured that produce sold be the middlemen have been now no longer beneath a positive price. When the entirety is so right are farmers happy? According to National Crime Bureau file 2018, 1,34,560 suicides have been stated in India out of which 10,350 have been farmers keep in mind this became overall quantity of said cases. This device become appropriate seeing 1960’s however with time we want to adapt similarly, now no longer a lot became accomplished to APMCs and a few issues popped up. Middlemen began out exploiting farmers they fashioned cartels or an knowledge amongst themselves and commenced shopping for the produce at MSP handiest and bought to investors at a excessive rate. For example, MSP for onion is Rs.8.five consistent with kg (statistics as of February 06, 2019) however we purchase onions at Rs 35 – eighty in step with kg relying on state. In a manner we will say Minimum Support Prize have become Maximum Selling Price. Voice arose sometimes to put off those defects and in reaction authorities introduced the 3 Acts in 2020. These 3 farm Acts are searching for to update ordinances issued in June 2020.
These Acts bear in mind to convey trade in a number of the important thing factors of the farm economy — exchange in agricultural commodities, rate assurance, farm offerings consisting of contracts, and inventory limits for critical commodities. These Acts sought to convey lots wished reforms withinside the agricultural advertising and marketing gadget including disposing of regulations of personal inventory keeping of agricultural produce or developing buying and selling regions freed from middlemen and take the marketplace to the farmer.

CONTROVERSIES

Everything appears top notch on paper, however then in which does the trouble lie? Well there’s a distinction among correct law and top implementation of the Act, many critics have raised their issues concerning this Act. The first actual challenge is that an Act which goes to be carried out withinside the entire u . s . has neither been mentioned with states so one can be maximum tormented by the Act nor with the professionals on this area accusing the authorities of destroying cooperative federalism.

We are witnessing a rustic huge protest, that’s extra excessive in Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh. The motive is plain as this place has the maximum prepared shape of APMCs. Although there’s no provision of casting off of APMCs then why are farmers fearing and elevating slogans of MANDI BACHAO? APMCs are below nation authorities and are maintained via way of means of taxes gathered in APMC market’s transaction. Government says in private

so this will store taxes, all agencies and buyers will purchase farm produce from personal markets so that you can slowly end result in the long run of APMC due to the fact the country authorities will don’t have any price range to keep APMC. If this occurs states may have numerous sales loss and union authorities has now no longer cited any manner to compensate them, specially in Punjab and Haryana.

Middlemen becomes jobless and there’s a issue that there’s a opportunity of intermediary in personal area additionally due to the fact our farmers aren’t in a function to good deal with company houses. In personal quarter there could be no manage and exploitation via way of means of middlemen can also additionally multiply. (86% farmers of our usa are marginalized farmers i.e. they have got much less than 2 acres of land.) With the give up of APMCs, MSP may even nearly quit that is the maximum crucial issue.

We are speaking about ‘One country One market’, ‘freedom of desire of market’ any farmer can promote his farm produce anywhere, seems desirable on seeing however the floor fact is that this already exists and a farmer can promote his produce any wherein he desires in any a part of country, it does now no longer take place due to the fact our farmers do now no longer have medium and cash to move items from one vicinity to some other due to the fact authorities itself says 86% of farmers are marginalized.

Contract farming is seemed upon as privatisation of farming, main worries right here are that farmers will by no means be capable of negotiate with the company sector. Act does now no longer prescribe or specify that settlement fee of the crop ought to be as a minimum equal or above the MSP. It way the contractor/agencies pays something rate they need to the farmer.

Being huge personal companies, exporters, wholesalers, and processors, they may usually have an part in disputes. Written settlement isn’t always obligatory this means that farmer will by no means be capable of show violation of phrases of agreement. Farmers have a legitimate factor due to the fact they have got visible privatization in markets of seeds and fertilizers wherein authorities believed fees will pass down due to opposition however outcomes are opposite, and farmers worry the identical in this situation also.

Limits of hoarding were eliminated due to the fact the state of affairs of ‘Extraordinary rate rise’ is manner to excessive to attain which absolutely method large personal gamers can any time motive synthetic charge fluctuation. Not most effective farmers can be laid low with it, purchasers can also be affected due to the fact the primary aim or cognizance of a non-public enterprise might be to elevate its profits.

CONCLUSION

Yes, there have been many flaws withinside the many years antique APMC Act, however critics accept as true with that the want changed into to plug the loopholes in place of introducing a brand new device altogether. A comparable device has already been added in America and a few European international locations wherein it has failed miserably, we are able to best wish this doesn’t take place in India and authorities will now no longer repeat the ones mistakes.

From the mindset of presidency, the stand of presidency could be very clean that it isn’t going to extrade something due to the fact already it’s been termed as Masterstroke. Right now, it’s far simply an Act each are outcomes are possible; farmers earnings will become double as stated through the government, or their situations get worse as feared via way of means of farmers. History is the satisfactory judge. While the cause of Government is laudable, we can be capable of see the outcomes of those new Acts after few years only. Right now, the entirety is only a speculation.

AUTHOR:

SHIVANGI GUPTA
Lloyd Law College