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Watershed moment in the history of Indian agriculture: Farmer bill explained

By: Ayushi Kedia

India is called the land of farmers, they are the backbone of the economy, and
Indian is an agrarian country with around 70% of its people depending directly or
indirectly upon the agriculture sector, yet due to their critical condition farmers
commit suicide every week or month which range between 1.4 and 1.8 per 100,000
total population, and this is continued since the 1990s due to impotence to
compensate loan mostly taken from landlords and banks, on that account to give
relaxations to Indian farmers, the government of India has Passed Central
Agriculture bills in the Lok sabha on Saturday and during his speech he quoted,
‘it’s a watershed moment in the history of Indian agriculture and it brings the
complete transformation of the agriculture sector as well as empower crores of
farmers as these bills will allow the farmers to expand the selling of their produce
across the country’.
The Introduced bills are the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of
Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill; the Farmers Produce Trade and
Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill; and the Essential Commodities
(Amendment) Bill.
Bills are for? Furthermore, the government said, due to these bills it will lead to a rise in farmers’ income and productivity which will help in accelerating growth in the
sector through private sector investment in building infrastructure and supply
chains for farm produce in national and global markets.

He also added due to these bills, most importantly farmers mainly from marginal
and small areas have got the opportunity of “creating ecosystem” where farmers
can sell to whomever they want and wherever they want like interstate or
intrastate- beyond APMCs. Beyond this the government came up with an option of
contract farming, in elaborative terms it means farmers and buyers can reach an
agreement before contriving harvest. The government is also aiming to establish modern tech and get high inputs to provide electronic trading.
Over and above the government emphasized that farmers will get rid of the
intermediaries and brokers and will have full price realization; even along with the
government will continue to give Minimum Support Price (MSP) for the crops to
the farmers. Moreover, the laws also allow the Centre to regulate or impose stock limits on the supply of certain food items under extraordinary circumstances or a steep rise in prices.

Another side of the story
Due to this contentious agriculture Bills, In the Punjab region, farmers have
organized a three-day protest against the bills, and the Minister of Food Processing
Industries and the only SAD representative in the Modi government, Harsimrat
Kaur Badal has resigned from the Union Cabinet as he is protesting against the
bills and alleging the Bills are deleterious to Punjab’s agriculture sector. The
Congress government in Punjab described this act as a “blatant attack” and a month
ago the Punjab assembly passed a resolution, refusing to accept the ordinances and
subsequent Bills.
Besides this, there are many sections of Political parties and farmers are standing
against these bills like Political parties, farm organizations like Bharatiya Kisan
Union (BKU), and big agricultural bodies like the All India Kisan Sangharsh
Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), but BJP’s previous ally Shiv Sena has
supported the bills. Lakhs of commission agents in mandis of Punjab and Haryana,
both the leading farm producer states, will stand to lose their control over farmers and in turn huge revenue. State governments will lose mandi tax, also a huge
source of revenue for them, which is why they seem to be opposing the bills.
These laws also don’t do away with the old ones and only give farmers options to
seek better prices of their produce. The farmers’ bodies are of the view that new
laws will slowly end the MSP (minimum support regime) regime, and will lead to
a huge loss of revenue to APMCs (Agricultural Produce Market Committees),
which come under state governments. They also believe that farmers could lose
rights to their land at the hands of companies if these laws will be implemented.
Hence the farmer bills include some good changes to farm loan programs that will
make them more helpful for beginning farmers and ranchers. And access to
affordable land and credit are the two biggest obstacles farmers face, but now
farmer bills addressed these challenges through several programs.

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Written by Sharad Maverick

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