CONTROVERSY OVER NEW FARM BILL 2020

Updated: Aug 5


"If everything is going well, than why there are many farmers on streets and why they're protesting? ".


"Jai jawan jai kissan" these are the words of our late Prime Minister Shree Lal bahadur shastri, which shows how this nation concerned about farmers in theories. Keeping same in mind our current government passed 3 Bills which was earlier taken as an ordinance. These bills which are now converted into act, as on 27th of September. They received approval form President Ramanath kovind, are the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill. There's a raised question, "If everything is going well, than why there are many farmers on streets and why they're protesting? ".



For getting answer of this question Let's understand the bill


1. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill.

Decades back in 1955 an act came in force which called Essential Commodities Act. The bill described about amendment in this previous act. According to the amendment government removed foodstuffs such as edible oil, oil seeds, pulses, potato, onion and cereals and will regulate the supply of these items only in extraordinary situation like war, famine, High price rise and natural calamity


Here High price rise means


  • 100% rise in prices of non-perishable(which can store in room temperature for a longer time period) such as edible oil, oilseeds

  • 50% rise in prices of perishable(which can't store in room temperature for a longer time period) such as onion and potato.

Controversy :


The issue in this act is that the price of daily consumable foodstuffs will be increase because government will not be regulating the hording of these farming produce as they are now not a part of essential commodities.


2. The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill.

This bill which changed into act as per now, discussed about entering in a leagal written agreement between the farmer and the buyer. It provides a nation framework of farming agreement.

According to the act minimum period of agreement shall be one crop season or one production cycle of livestock and maximum period shall be 5 years.

If the production cycle of any farming produce is longer than five years than the maximum period of agreement will mutually decided by both the parties.

It also talked about time of delivery, Produce quality and standard and price assurance.

The act says Farmer will get an agreed guaranteed price.


Controversy:


MSP vs guaranteed price


We will try to understand the issue through an example, let's say Ramesh is a farmer who did an agreement with Goga Pvt. ltd, and they both are agreed on guaranteed price which is 1000 rupees per quintal and quality of farming produce should be A level. Now in the starting 3 months everything goes well but in the second last month of cultivation a natural calamity happened. Because of this the quality of farming produce decreased from A level to C level. Now Goga Pvt. Ltd can negotiate with Ramesh and give him only 600 rupees per quintal but the cost of farming produce is 750 per quintal. Ramesh has no other option as MSP is now not applicable for outside the APMC.

Now, Ramesh fall into this trap.


Company might even cancel the whole contract or can even sue the farmer for non fulfilment of contract, if they don't get that A quality .

Secondly poor farmers are not that much educated that they can actually understand all the terms and conditions of the contract or hire a legal consultant for the same.

Even it would be difficult for them to fight cases in the courts against big corporate houses if some legal issue arises. This has been seen in the past.


Also farmer will never reach on a stage where he can negotiate with companies, and there is lot of chances of growing middle men as farmers are not that much educated to deal with these bigger companies.


3. The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill

This act break the monopoly of APMC yards and promote open market and intra & inter state trade. The act also states that the trade which done outside the APMC Market will not comes under taxation means free from taxes. Government also planned to promote electronic trade.


Controversy:


Neglecting APMC


APMC means Agriculture Produce Marketing Community set-ups under state laws to insure the safe trade between farmer and buyer and generate state revenue from them.

According to the act now buyer can buy the farming produce directly from farmer without any tax so it's clearly a big loss of state revenue and the staff of APMC will loss their jobs too as all the buyer try to use other way to buy farming produce so that they don't need to pay tax. Tax-free private trade outside the APMC mandis will make these notified markets unviable


And some other concern is that some newborn state invested in building structure for APMC but after this act this investment goes in vain


Loss of state revenue


Some states such as Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh whose revenue is mainly based on two- three sectors have a very big chance to loss the state revenue as new open market allow traders to trade outside the APMC where they can done tax-free trades.


Conclusion:


The agricultural is a part of state list but by making law over it center government hits the federalism of nation. The decade back system of APMC has some loophole but government need to overcome from them not to introduce a new system on another hand. For those this act made are protesting on roads so government needs to take them in consideration and try to find out a solution.


The writer is student of journalism at DU



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