New Farm Bill: In the Rajya Sabha on Sunday, two controversial bills related to agriculture were approved amidst loud uproar. After which many farmers' organizations and political parties took to the streets in protest. While the Modi government is describing these bills as a means of empowering the farmers, the opposition and millions of farmers are protesting that farmers will be forced into the corporate houses after this bill. At the same time, there are some farmers who are confused with the politicization of this whole matter, their demand is that the government should come forward and remove the apprehensions of the farmers and tell the farmers what benefit from this bill.
What is the bill and why is it protesting:
Two bills related to agriculture have been approved in the Rajya Sabha on Sunday, with the signing of President Ram Nath Kovind, it will take the form of law. The bills that have been approved include the Agricultural Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill-2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Price Assurance Agreement and the Agreements Bill-2020 on Agricultural Services.
Under the Agricultural Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Simplification) Bill, 2020, farmers or traders will be able to trade their produce easily outside the market through other means.
According to this bill, farmers will be able to trade their produce in any part of the country, within the state limits or outside the state. Arrangements will be made for this. Apart from mandis, there will be freedom to do business on farmgate, ware house, cold storage, processing units in the business area. To get rid of the middlemen, a direct relationship will be established with the processors, exporters, organized retailers from the farmers.
The number of small farmers in India is high, about 85 percent of the farmers have less than two hectares of land, so they had difficulty in talking to big buyers. For this, they either depended on big farmers or middlemen. It was not possible to get the right price for the crop at the right time. After these bills, he will be able to do his business easily.
The Agreement on Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Price Assurance and Agricultural Services directly connects farmers to traders, companies, processing units, exporters. It gives an assurance to the farmer to determine the prices of the produce before sowing and before the sowing through the agricultural agreement. The farmer will have complete freedom in the contract, he will sell the produce by fixing the price according to his wish. 10 thousand farmer producing groups are being formed in the country. These FPOs will work towards adding small farmers and giving their crops a fair profit in the market.
The new bill has not removed the minimum support price (MSP) (PM Narendra Modi has said that the MSP is not being eliminated) but to allow 'outside mandis' to fix the price of the crop Farmers are apprehensive.
Amid these concerns of farmers, the state governments – especially Punjab and Haryana – are fearing that if private buyers buy grain directly from the farmers, then they will suffer the loss of tax in the mandis.
The government has announced the minimum support price of the crops amidst a fierce battle over the agrarian reform bills. The economic affairs committee of Binet has approved this. In view of the concern of farmers, the minimum support price has been approved a month ago. The government has increased the MSP from Rs 50 to Rs 300 per quintal. FCI and other government agencies will purchase their grain from farmers at the MSP.
According to Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, the MSP of gram has been increased by Rs 225 per quintal for the Rabi season and it has increased to Rs 5100 per quintal. The minimum support price of lentils has been increased by Rs 300 per quintal and it has been increased to Rs 5100 per quintal. He said that the mustard MSP has been increased by Rs 225 per quintal and it has increased to Rs 4650 per quintal. It has increased to Rs 1600 per quintal after the minimum support price of barley has been increased by Rs 75 and by Rs 112 per quintal in MSP of safflower to Rs 5327 per quintal.
Praising the agricultural bills, the PM said that till now the system of selling the produce in our country, which was the law, it had tied the hands and feet of the farmers. Under the guise of these laws, such powerful gangs were born in the country, who were taking advantage of the helplessness of the farmers.