Polity Notes

Agriculture Bills of 2020

These Bills are often referred as farm Bills

Three Agriculture Bills were introduced in Lok Sabha on 14th Sep 2020 by Union Agriculture Minister Sh. Narendra Singh Tomar

(1) The farmers Produce Trade & Commerce (Promotion & facilitation) Bill 2020

(2) The farmers (Empowerment & Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance &Farm services) Bill 2020.

(3) Essential Commodities Amendment Bill 2020.

These bills were passed by Lok Sabha on 17/9/20 and By Rajya Sabha on 20/9/20 and got the accent of President on 27thSep 2020 and became Farm Acts.

(1) The farmers Produce Trade & Commerce (Promotion & facilitation) Bill 2020 make the following major provisions.

a) Farmers & Traders enjoy the freedom to sell & purchase farm produce outside registered mandis under State APMC’s (Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee).

b) Unrestricted interstate & intra state trade of farmers produce

c) To reduce marketing/transportation cost & help farmers in getting better prices.

d) To provide frame work for electronic trading.

Opposition of this bill

This bill is being opposed on these points.

(1) States will loss revenue as they will not be able to collect mandi fee if farmers sell their produce outside registered. APMC markets.

(2) No work for Commission Agents (Aadhtis) in a state if entire farm trade moves out of market.

(3) It will end MSP (Minimum Support Price) based procurement system.

(4) Mandis will Venish

(2)The farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price. Assurance & farm Services) Bill 2020

(a) Farmers can enter into a contract with agri-business firms, processors, whole sellers, exporters or large retailers for sale of future farming at a pre-agreed price.

(b) To transfer the risk of market unpredictability from farmers to sponsors.

(c) To enable farmers to access modern technology& get better inputs

(d) To reduce cost of marketing & boost farmers income.

(e) Direct marketing by farmers eliminating intermediaries for full price realisation.

Opposition of this bill

(a) Farmers in contract farming arrangement will be weaker players in terms of their ability to negotiate what they need.

(b) In case of disputes, big private companies, exporters, whole sellers will have an edge.

3. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020

(a) To remove Commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, onion & potatoes from the list of essential commodities. It will do away with imposition of stock holding limit on such items except under extraordinary situations like war.

(b) Will attract private sector and FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) into farm sector

(c) Will help investment in farms infrastructure like cold storage, modernising food supply chain, Juice Plants, Processing Plants etc.

(d) Help farmers & consumers by bringing price stability of farm produce.

(e) Will create competitive environment & cut wastage of farm produce.

Opposition of this bill

(a) Big Companies will have the freedom to stock commodities. They will dictate terms to farmers which may lead to less prices for the cultivators.

(b) Recent decision on export ban on onion doubts its implementation.

(c) Extra ordinary circumstances like war may never happen.

The opposition parties as well as BJP all time friend Shiromani Akali Dal party have termed these farm bills as anti farmers. Its union cabinet minister Mrs. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, resigned in protest of these bills.Various farmers organisations have been protesting against these bills throughout India.

On 12th Jan 2021, Supreme Court Stayed the implementation of farm laws and appointed a committee to look into farmers grievances related to the farm laws.

The chief economist of IMF Gita Gopinath said that farm bills are very important step in right direction but stressed that implementation of these laws must be right. 866 scholars from deferent institute like DU, JNU, Rajasthan University, Gujrat University, etc supported farm laws.

Kaushik Basu former chief economist of World Bank called that new farm bills are flawed & detrimental to farmers.

According to govt these reforms will accelerate growth in the farm sector through private sector investment& FDI in building infrastructure & supply chains for farm produce in national & global markets.

They will help small farmers who can’t bargain for better price of their produce or invest in technology to improve productivity of their produce. Billsallow farmers to sell their produce outside APMC to whoever they want.Farmers will get better price through competition.

Union Agriculture minister Sh. Narendra Tomar has repeatedly assured that MSP will continue and farm bills are in the interest of farmers. The income of farmers will increase, middlemen will be eliminated, better technology to farmers will be available through FDI and corporate investment in their field. Still if farmers have any doubt govt is ready for talks and necessary amendments in these bills. Govt can never go against farmers and is committed for their welfare. Opposition on these bills is nothing but politically motivated.