India: Farm Bills 2020

There has been huge chaos witnessed in the country due to the three farm laws that were passed by Lok Sabha in the Monsoon Session. These bills have come with new reforms that farmers don’t want to abide by. India Farm Bills have extravasated the farmer’s community and it has been a long time that they are protesting for the same. But, what are these three farm bills? What did they signify? Are they beneficial for farmers or not? You need to keep on reading this article to get all your questions answered. All three farm bills have been described with much precision in this article. So, let’s get started!!

  1. Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020

This bill gives the privilege to the farmers to sell their produce inter-state as well as intra-state instead of AMPC (Agriculture Produce Market Committee) yards or mandis. Farmers are no more bound to sell the produce only to the markets notified under APMC Acts. The main provisions of this bill were:

  • It allows the farmers to easily trade outside the designated mandis or APMC markets for better reach
  • To facilitate the farmers with the inter-state as well as intra-state selling of produce
  • To assist the farmers getting better prices by considerably reducing the marketing/transportation costs
  • To assure the electronic trading of the farmer’s produce for direct online buying and selling of produce via the electronic devices and internet

Let’s understand what the oppositions to this farm bill are:

  • The state revenues will deteriorate as they won’t be getting any fee that they used to get from the mandis
  • There will be a large loss to the commission agents if the produce will start selling out of the mandis
  • It will put an end to the MSP system
  • E-NAM won’t be able to flourish if the trading in mandis will stop
  1. Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020

This act will assure an agreement between the farmer and the buyer before the rearing or production of any produce. The significant provisions of this bill are:

  • Farmers can sign an agreement of a predefined price with the various wholesalers and exporters for the selling of farm’s produce
  • There will be a minimum period of the agreement for one crop season
  • The maximum period of the farming agreement is decided for five years. If the buyer and farmer want to go beyond this period then they can mention it explicitly in the agreement
  • All the prices for the farming produce and the process of determining the price shall be mentioned in the agreement
  • ●       It also gives a provision for a three-level dispute settlement in case any dispute arises

The main oppositions that were encountered by this bill are:

  • Farmers will be bound by the agreement and they can’t negotiate for their prices
  • Large sponsors won’t be interested in dealing will small farmers
  • Large companies will have high authority in case of any dispute
  1. Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020

This act focussed on removing various commodities from the list of essential commodities. These commodities include cereals, pulses, onion, oilseeds, and potatoes. The provisions encountered with this bill are:

  • This will take a look at the stock holding limits of the produce by removing various items from the list of essential commodities
  • This will entertain a large lot of private investors and attract them to the farming sector
  • It will assist with the investments in the farm infrastructure by building cold storages and improvising the food supply chain
  • It will assist with the price stability for the buyer and seller

The main drawbacks for this bill are:

  • Large companies will stock the produce making farmers more vulnerable
  • A ban has been imposed on the export of onions creating a benefit of the doubt for the implementation

Why farmers are protesting?

It has been quite a long time that farmers are protesting to repeal the farm bills. The farmers want the bills to be repealed because:

  • There will be no MSP guarantee that will be a threat to their livelihood
  • They want the laws to be repealed as they found it more devastating than progressive
  • They want MSP assurance as they were having before
  • They want that the government should withdraw the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 that can be a threat to the subsidized electricity
  • They also demand that they will not be obliged to follow the stubble burning rules

Bottom Line

The farmer’s protest is seeking no end until the Farm Bills have been passed. The government and the farmers are in a race to prove their arguments right. But, the situation of the country is deteriorating with these protests. What do you think about the Farm Bills? Are they Boon or Bane? Do share your thoughts!!