All three farm bills were passed by the both the houses amidst protest from opposition and a section of the farmer’s organisation. These bills will replace the existing ordinances.
Farm bills that are at the centre of a huge political storm and cost the ruling BJP its alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal, became laws with the signature of President Ram Nath Kovind. Flagging them as “historic” reforms in the agri sector, the Centre has said it would help the country’s farmers proceed into the 21st Century, helping them get better price for produce.
Pros & Cons of the new Farm Bills
Pros of the new Farm Bills
Pros of the new Farm Bills
The farmers had moved towards a freer and more flexible system.
Selling produces outside the physical territory of the mandis will be an additional marketing channel for the farmers.
The new bill has not brought any major drastic changes, only a parallel system working with the existing system. Prior to these bills, farmers can sell their produce to the whole world, but via the e- NAM system.
The amendment to the Essential Commodities Act which is one of the three bills under protest removes the scare or fear of the farmers that traders who buy from farmers would be punished for holding stocks that are deemed excess and inflicting losses for the farmers.
The bills ensure that the farmer or the producer is given the same attention as production is and the farmer gets the stipulated price for crops, so that farming survives.
The prime minister Narendra Modi tweeted on September 20th, that the “system of MSP will remain” and “government procurement will continue”. The Agriculture Minister also stated that past governments actually never thought it mandatory to introduce a law for MSP.
In the existing APMC system, it is mandatory for farmers to go through a trader (via Mandis) so as to sell their produce to consumers and companies and they receive Minimum Selling Prices for their produce. It was this very system that has influenced the rise to a cartel led by traders and uncompetitive markets due to which the farmers are paid MSP (a very low price) for their produces.
Cons of the Farm Bills
The Farm Bills hampers with the monopoly of APMC (agricultural produce market committee) mandis, thereby allowing sale and purchase of crops outside these state government-regulated market yards or mandis.
The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill does not give any statutory backing to MSP. The farmers have nothing to do with the legal system but everything to do with the MSP, a price at which they sell their produce, there is not even a mention of either “MSP” or “Procurement” in the said bill.
The government declares MSPs for crops, but there has been no law mandating their implementation.
The only crop where MSP payment has some statutory implementation is sugarcane for which FRP is determined. This is due to its pricing being governed by the Sugarcane (Control) Order, 1966 issued under the Essential Commodities Act.
The new bills are placing farmers and traders at the mercy of civil servants, rather than of the courts.