Context- Three Acts in Parliament and handed hurriedly, ignoring critical objections inside each Houses and the opposition outdoors.
Why are these bills being opposed?
- End of MSP– The bills also lack any assurance about Minimum Support Price(MSP)
- Dismantling of the monopoly of the APMCs as a sign of ending the assured procurement of food grains at minimum support prices (MSP).
- After the abolition of mandis, farmers in Bihar on average received lower prices compared to the MSP for most crops.
- Promote corporate control– The farmers contend the federal government is making ready to withdraw from the procurement of food grain and hand it over to the company gamers.
- Weak grievances redress system– The dispute decision mechanism from the purview of courts and fingers it over to the SDM and the DC, who’re perceived as being below stress from their political masters.
- Hamper the rural growth– The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce act prohibits State governments from collecting market fee, cess or levy for trade outside the APMC markets that are used for rural growth and market infrastructure.
- No mechanism for price fixation – The Price Assurance Act offers protection to farmers against price exploitation.
- Food security– Easing of regulation of food commodities in the essential commodities list would lead to hoarding of farm produce during the harvest season when prices are generally lower.
- This could undermine food security since the States would have no information about the availability of stocks within the State.
- Against the Spirit of Cooperative federalism– Since agriculture and markets are State subjects, the ordinances are being seen as a direct encroachment upon the functions of the States
However, the authorities argues that-
- Farmers will get higher prices– The acts aim to increase the availability of buyers for farmers’ produce, by allowing them to trade freely without any license or stock limit, so that an increase in competition among them results in better prices for farmers.
- Contract farming– This can present predetermined costs to farmers contracted upfront which will guarantee costs greater than the MSP.
- This enables farmers to promote their produce anyplace within the nation and interact with personal corporations to promote their crops.
What is the way forward?
- The farmers’ unions want a complete withdrawal of the recently enacted Farm Acts, and an assurance that MSP and procurement by FCI will proceed.
- The Farm Acts were legislative measures that were passed without elaborate discussion with stakeholders. Thus, government has to take steps to address the genuine fears of farmers.
Link for our 7PM Editorial of similar article (Why Farmers are protesting and what is MSP system?)