The Government of India has just released 3 Agriculture bills that have received extreme reactions, both positive and negative. Lets quickly browse through these and see what might be the reason for the reactions as well as find a way to resolve this in our discussions.
Here are the 3 bills in discussion
1. The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020
- Farmers can sell their produce anywhere in the country without any additional tax or cess than usually applied by the market state in the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC).
- Farmers can also sell it directly in the Private markets eliminating the authorized middlemen.
- Farmers would get more price for their produce by eliminating the middlemen.
- Directly selling to Private players would be even more beneficial to the farmers, increasing their earnings.
- Almost 85% of Indian farmers are small farmers (less than 2 Hectare farm). Such small farmers will have almost no negotiation power against large corporates.
- It is highly unlikely that Private firms would deal with so many farmers across the country. It would still create middlemen who handle a particular geography and these may be even more savage than the APMC middlemen.
- Corporate negotiations along with Government negligence could make APMCs meaningless, leaving farmers with no options than dealing with corporates in the medium and long term.
- Decreasing APMC deals would reduce State taxes as well as folks employed in various capacities in the market.
2. Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill
- Farmers and Private parties can enter into a pricing contract even before the produce is grown. This would ensure that the farmers have access to sell their produce even before the harvesting season.
- Farmers would have security of finding a buyer even before the produce is ready.
- Pre-negotiated prices would be market driven and fetch a lot of profit to the farmers.
- Pre-negotiated contracts have no clause to maintain MSP, which could lead to exploitation of farmers.
- As more private firms enter into contracts, it might pull the prices even below acceptable limits.