NEW DELHI: Amid objections from opposition parties inside the House and protests by certain farmer organisations in states, the Centre in Lok Sabha on Monday introduced three major Bills on reforming the farm sector.
These Bills will replace the three existing ordinances which seek to enable barrier-free trade in agricultural produce, free the farmers from the clutches of traders and also to empower them to engage with private investors of their choice on pre-agreed prices of their commodities through contract farming.
Though opposition parties criticised the government for not consulting states before bringing the proposed legislations and also for opting the ordinance route, Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar urged them to carefully study the content of the Bills before “running to oppose them” for political reasons.
Allaying concerns of members and fear of farmer groups over the fate of the minimum support price (MSP) of farm produce, Tomar said, “MSP hai aur MSP rahega (MSP currently exists and it will stay)”.
Many opposition parties including Congress have been opposing Bills, alleging that the proposed legislation will undermine the safety net provided to the farmers by the current MSP system and will lead to their exploitation by big companies.
Tomar said the Bills were for the overall benefit of farmers as they would now be able to sell their produce in an unrestricted manner both within and outside their respective states.
He also assured the House that the Bill which was meant for empowering farmers to engage with private investors would be for selling their produce and bringing new technologies to their farms. It would not affect the farmers rights over land. The contract would not be for land. It would only be for farm produce on pre-agreed minimum price, he added.
The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 is meant for a national framework on farming agreements that protects and empowers farmers to engage with agri-business firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters or large retailers for farm services and sale of future farming produce at a mutually agreed remunerative price framework in a transparent manner.
The other Bill – Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 – is meant to provide for the creation of an ecosystem where the farmers and traders enjoy the Read More – Source