THE FARM ACTS: A BANE OR BOON?
Updated: Feb 5
Author: Karthik T, IV year of B.Com.,LL.B.(Hons.) from SASTRA University
Recently, three farm bills were passed in parliament. The newly passed farm bills will give farmers the freedom to sell their products across the country. The three acts are as follows:
1· The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act
2· The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance
3· The Farm Services Act
The Central Government held that the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act will help the farmers to involve in contract farming; under these acts, the farmer will produce crops as per contracts with corporate investors. The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act will provide the right to the farmers to sell their products anywhere.
Many of the farmers’ organizations and political parties were opposing the farm acts. BJP’s ally Shiromani Akali Dal withdrew from the Modi Government in protest against these acts. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, minister for food processing, had submitted her resignation letter to the President and the President also had accepted her resignation.
The protesting parties and organizations held that these acts will lead to the corporatization of agriculture and farmers may force to bind them to unfavourable contracts by the corporate.
Scope of farm acts
1. According to the new farm acts, the farmers have the right to sell their products across the country, but before these acts they can sell only via the e-NAM system, e-NAM (National Agriculture Market) is an electronic trading portal. It can create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
2. Selling products outside the e-NAM will be an additional marketing channel for the farmers.
3. The new farm acts to ensure that the farmers can get the stimulation amount for their products.
4. These three acts will not affect the MSP (Minimum Support Price) system.
5. The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act seeks to open the agriculture market beyond the APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) system.
6. The new acts are placing farmers and traders at the mercy of civil servants, rather than of the courts.
7. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance will allow regulating the supply of certain food items only during pandemic conditions.
Benefits of farmers by this act
The Central Government held that the three new acts never affected the MSP. ‘MSP was, MSP is and MSP will continue in the future’. Further, they said that these acts will help the farmers to get connected to big traders and corporate.
The three new acts will help the farmers to sell their products across the country and the farmers have the rights to fix their prices. Giving farmers the choice to sell their products without the middlemen will help the farmers to earn more money. The new three acts also provide a platform to the farmers to make a contract with the corporate and big dealers. The MSP (Minimum Support Price) system is not getting affected. Hence, these acts never affect the farmers’ income; instead of it will help the farmers to earn more money. The protest against these acts was conducted only due to the lack of awareness about these acts among the people. The Central Government should take these issues in their hand and spread awareness among farmers.