Farm Bills: Vehemently Opposed By Indian Farmers
Name- Roshi Surele
Designation- Student, Institute Of Law, Nirma University
On September 27,2020, farmers faced an appalling and shocking situation when the President of India gave his assent to the three profoundly contentious farm Bills. The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilit ation) Bill, 2020, an Act which allows inter-state and intra-state trade of farmers’ produce beyond the physical ambit of Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) market yards (mandis) and other markets enumerated under state APMC Acts, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, An Act to provide for a national framework on farming agreements that enables farmers to engage with agri-business firms, wholesalers, processors, exporters or large retailers for farm services and sale of future farming produce and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, An Act which seeks to remove commodities like pulses, cereals, oil seeds, edible oils, potatoes and onion from the list of essential commodities.
Over the decades the poor farmers of India have been stuck in a pool of debt, facing abject poverty. A ruckus is raging over the period of time about increment in numbers of farmer suicide. The issue of extremely low levels of farmers' income and a lack of assuring price mechanism is always being fallen on deaf ear by the different governments. After the bill was pronounced and promulgated the major concern of the farmers were scrapping of MSP, Monopoly of corporate and the Price instability. These bills do not explicitly prescribe the mechanism for price fixation. There is an apprehension that the free hand given to private corporate houses, could lead to ill treatment and exploitation of farmers. The amended Act will deregulate the storage, production, movement and distribution of the food commodities entailing pulses, cereals, oil seeds, edible oils, potatoes and onion.
Crippling Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) have threatened the very sole recourse of the farmers, Minimum Support Price (MSP). Farmers envisaged ending of APMCs as a sign of ending the secured and assured procurement of food grains at the minimum support prices (MSP). In the three farm bills, nowhere has been written that the MSP would be endured. This has created a reckon about the government’s intention of scrapping MSP, which is the only earning of poor farmers when they couldn't find better rates in the open market. The poor farmers are susceptible to the losses and massive debt , in this situation the government has failed to ensure farmers about the security of MSP and price stability, The bills invite , a host of entities including corporates, traders and even the end customer who can squarely procure from farmers, but this also ascertain that over a time period corporate would establish monopoly over the prices and therefore the benefit of increased price rate would be a bout of happiness for farmers. This can be seen in the State of Bihar, it is the first state to abolish APMCs mechanism which results in unscrupulously fixing a lower price for agricultural produce that traders buy from farmers.
Conventional wisdom has it that, government with all its might try to solve and preclude every devastating situation occurring in the country, but in reality the question demurred, is it the truth?. The farmers are bereft with no hope after the bills were introduced, leaving them in utter confusion about their future. This is the reason that huge protest is held against the so called ‘historic bills’. The farmers are fighting for their basic rights and legit demands including MSP in the bill and ensuring that the guarantee payment from the buyers through middleman that has always been the norm to assure that the banks do not deduct money in the name of loan recovery remain intact, so they can survive without entrapping in the uncertain situation where they do not have any other alternative other than accepting everything and anything which can cause them losses or end up sinking in the pool of debt. There is a dire need of contemplation and enunciation by the government on the lacunae of these acts and to fill these lacunae by negotiation and understanding the perspective of farmers.