41 views • Sep 26th, 2020
The government of India has introduced three agriculture bills with an aim to double the income of Indian farmers. But there is a nationwide uproar against the Farm Bill 2020. Farmers from different parts of the country are opposing the ‘historic’ Farm Bill 2020. Let’s know All About Farm Bill 2020 Protest, Pros and Cons.
The Parliament has passed three agriculture bills:
‘Bhartya Kisan Union‘, All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) and some other farmer unions asked for permission from the Harayana government in order to conduct a peaceful protest or a rally but on 10 September. The Haryana government denied the plea of rally citing the crisis of COVID-19. But the farmers started their rally with more than 100 tractors on the road with the slogan ‘Kiasn Bachao, Mandi Bachao‘. Many people called this protest as ‘Tractor Protest‘ also. At some places peaceful protest became violent and police had to lathi-charge the kisans.
India’s small and marginal farmers have been struggling with acute poverty due to the multilayered problems and strictly controlled agriculture sector. The agricultural market was entirely controlled by money lenders and traders since independence.
The farmers were being exploited by these money lenders and traders while selling goods in the market. The government introduced APMC (Agriculture Produce Market Committee) to solve the problem.
Agriculture is a state subject that is why every state has its own APMC network. The state divides APMC area depending upon the state’s volume. A trader needs to acquire the license to operate in a particular Mandi or APMC. Similarly, farmers are only allowed to sell their agriculture goods in regional Mandis only.
There are many middlemen between farmers and traders in the existing APMC process.
First, the farmers will visit Mandis where the MSP or price discovery will be done through auction. Then the goods will be taken to traders through commission agents or arthians. Then comes transaction agents who inform the farmers about the sold price. The transaction agents charge market fees from the farmers. The whole process is full of corruption. Thus the existing APMC system can not save farmers from being exploited.
Then the Indian government brought the MSP or Minimum Support Price.
Minimum Support Price (MSP) was envisioned as a powerful instrument in stabilizing the economy. But at ground level, the reality of poor management of MSP concept is quite visible.
APMC Act was enacted by almost all the states during the 1960s or later to bring transparency in Agricultural Marketing in India. This was a small part of the overall food security in the country, remunerative prices to farmers, and fair prices to consumers. However vision the APMC was not a complete success.
For example, a good of 5 rupees is sold at 50 rupees to consumers and the rest amount gets divided among all the middlemen.
Ministry of Agriculture published a report in 2012-13, which revealed that the majority of small and marginal farmers were being done by the farmers to the non-APMC traders and not in the APMC. So, MSP is an irrelevant concept here.
Now let’s move focus to the Farm Bill 2020.
|Government's perception||Farmer's perception|
|Farmers would be able to sell their products in anywhere in India||How can a small farmer afford travel cost across India?|
|Areas outside the APMCs will be tax free||There is no proper guideline on tax free zones however if the government makes the nearby area tax free then it will be a heavy loss for them|
|Private APMCs will set up.||Private APMCs will not be transparent and regulated.|
|Private companies will opt for private APMCs to save tax, hence farmers will face heavy loss.|
There are three lists in the 7th Schedule of the Indian constitution.
Agriculture comes under List II of the 7th Schedule.
But here we should refer Article 249 which empowers the parliament to legislate with respect to a matter in the State List in the national interest. There is one more reference of entry 33 of List III which gives power to the center to enact laws on Agriculture.
We came across the enormous negative impact of COVID-19 in the first quarter of 2020-2021. The agricultural sector and allied activities are the only sectors that grew by 3.4%, while the country’s economic contraction was figured at 23.9%.
So, the sector which feeds the nation is in distress. The farmer’s agony will never bring positive growth unless the government addresses the whole situation on an urgent basis. Here are some solutions, the government can work upon.
The above data clearly shows the epitome of the sufferings of Indian farmers and the height of mismanagement of existing agricultural policy. Hence the reform is essential.
As far as the reform is the primary concern, the government should focus on solving the existing problems of the Indian agriculture market before implementing a new one.
–John E Kennedy
The article is aimed at giving a transparent view of the ongoing agitation of the farmers against the new Farm Bill 2020 along with addressing the agricultural marketing problems.Read more at TextBooq