FARM BILLS: - A NEW IDENTIFICATION FOR AGRICULTURALISTS.
Updated: Dec 23, 2020
This Article is written by Priyanshu Singh Thakur, Co-Authored by Sambhav Jain. Both of them are Intern at Law Dexter
The Primary Sector of India which was one of the biggest contributors to the Indian economy is now At the shrinking stage amounting to 17.32% of the GDP. In the primary sector, men account for about 43% and women account for about 62.8% of the workforce. The total percentage of the workforce in the primary sector accounts for about 48.9%.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND -
At the time of Alauddin Khiliji, who ruled India in the 14th century introduce the trade and price control policies to support his large raid army and enrich the Turkic greatness.
In the later 18th and early 19th century, the East India company forced farmers to produce opium, indigo, and cotton. A New reform set by them – essential commodity act 1887 (ECA)
WHAT IS FARM BILL?
The Farm bill is the primary agricultural tool of government. as per the Indian government, this bill will modify the agriculture sector. Thereby it would also uplift the income of the farmers. The main function of this bill is to create an ecosystem between trader and farmer to provide the liberty of choice to sell to anybody, throughout India.
Agricultural markets in India are mainly controlled by state Agriculture Produce Marketing
Committee (APMC) laws.
Functions of APMC - To regulate the trade of farmers’ produce by giving licenses to buyers, commission agents, to impose market fees or other charges, to develop infrastructure within their markets for ease of trade.
The three Ordinances aim to raise the availability of buyers for farmers’ production, by allowing them to trade freely without any license, so the increase in competition results in lucrative prices for the farmers. While the Ordinances focuses on freedom of trade and increase the number of buyers.
BILL 1- FARMER PRODUCE TRADE AND COMMERCE (PROMOTION & FACILITATION BILL 2020)
It permits trading in an 'outside trade area' like farm gates, factory premises, storerooms, and depot. Dispute of earlier, agricultural trade could be directed only in the APMC Mandis.
It will also facilitate the best prices for the farmers through alternative trading channels to promote obstacle-free trade of agriculture production
The Act also permits the electronic trading of farmers' produce in the specified trade area. It will ease the direct and online buying and selling of such products through the internet.
The act prohibits state governments from levying any market fee or cess on farmers, traders, and electronic trading platforms for trading farmers’ produce in an 'outside trade area.
Therefore this new ecosystem will provide farmers to eliminate the middlemen and sell directly to the buyers at the prices agreed between them. however, farmer groups are worried about the big corporate giant’s who have more bargaining power than small and marginal farmers. In India, 85% of the farmers own less than 2 hectares of the land which makes it difficult. For them to negotiate with large scale buyers.
BILL 2- THE FARMER (EMPOWERMENT AND PROTECTION) AGREEMENT ON PRICE ASSURANCE AND FARM SERVICES ACT 2020
This law will allow farmers to enter into contracts with agri-firms or large buyers to produce a crop for a pre-agreed price. the farmers are tensed about the removal of minimum support price (MSP) and government control over prices.
BILL 3- THE ESSENTIAL COMMODITY (AMENDMENT) ORDINANCE, 2020
This bill proposes to allow economic agents to stock food products freely without the fear of being prosecuted for hoarding. Therefore unlimited stocking can lead to high prices of the same
FARMERS OBJECTION –
Alternate private mandis will lead to the ultimate closure of existing APMC Mandi. As there will be no tax on the private markets. Removal of geographic restriction-small farmers may find it difficult to avail potentially better prices at markets further away because of constraints on travel and storage. There will be no restriction on farmers to sell elsewhere earlier too.
Our farmers are the heart of the nation and their development and improvement is the foremost concern to be taken care of by the government. The passing of the bills is a step towards the right direction providing a wider platform to the farmers & to get the lucrative prices for their agricultural product. Farmers will be free from the cumbersome process of selling their produce at selected places. The procurement of MSP will be there and ‘mandis’ established under state laws will also continue to operate. It will enable the farmers and will nurture their growth and development in the country rearranging the Indian economy.