Updated: Nov 5, 2020
Our country offers a great chaos.The newest one is that of the political clash being offered to us due to three bills(now acts)introduced in the agriculture sector. Why this for my first post?Because simply put, the farmers feed me.The agriculture sector contributes nearly 15 percent of India’s $2.9 trillion economy but employs about half of the country’s 1.3 billion people.Therefore improving the agriculture sector would be a major move in stimulating country's economic growth as well as the livelihoods of half the population in our country.Talking about the system already in place would provide us a better understanding, i believe.
Lets begin from the beginning.With a good amount of research i could come up with a timeline on " how" the existing "MANDI" system came into force.We will also talk about the "why".
Now the why. In the pre-independence period, The East India company wanted to acquire cotton produced in our country for cheaper rates to be exported to Manchester (UK).They started establishing reserved areas in every district as markets for agricultural produce.Carrying this forward, post-independence, our policy makers came up with reforms to protect the interests of farmers and hence the AGRICULTURE PRODUCE MARKETING COMMITTEE (APMC). Remember we are talking about the time right after independence,when agriculture was the prime economy driving force and when the farmers were given the respect they deserve. The maintenance of these markets or what we call mandis was a state affair. Yes, u heard it right, the procurement of crops sold in these markets at the minimum support price(MSP) ,Its storage, and the tax added with this would all fall under the state's list of duties, the center could not interfere with it.
Coming to the present, the much talked about three bills and their details i have pasted on the right side ..Just the pointers not paragraphs because paragraphs are boring and i am dreamy.
Looks like a bright deal ?isn't it? Bigger investors , choice to farmers, modern technology, no taxes
outside APMC,open and global markets.Swift move and guaranteed boom in the sector!
But how smart do you think our honest and straight thinking farmers are to grab this superb opportunity?How good will they be at negotiating a feasible price for their hard work?In case of disputes, will they be able to win over big companies and settle the claim in their favor? Are they being passed from one set of middlemen to another set of corporates and middle men? Are they being pushed into the corporate rat race?Okay, bombarding my dreamy brains with so many questions was not a good idea.I ll go get myself some coffee.
The bills further state that farmers can come into an agreement with private companies. Such
deals are financially attractive but because there are so many terms and conditions attached, it is difficult for a farmer to cope with them.
The problem is putting
the farmers into the hands of the private players without any safeguards and without any regulations or discipline in terms of price setting. There is a lack of regulatory oversight and price-setting body.The assurances given by the government regarding the MSP have not been provided to farmers in writing, they are all verbal assurances.
The bill is majorly facing backlash from states of Punjab and Haryana., most government procurement centres in Punjab, Haryana and a few other States are located within the notified APMC mandis. Farmers fear that encouraging tax-free private trade outside the APMC mandis will make these notified markets unviable, which could lead to a reduction in government procurement itself. According to Agriculture Ministry data,m ore than 85% of wheat and paddy grown in Punjab, and 75% in Haryana, is bought by the government at MSP rates.
I am not saying the earlier system in place was very efficient or that it catered to all the needs of the farmers.It started as a promise to save farmers from the earlier exploitation by zameendars and now they get exploited by the middle men in place.Check mate!
Also a little about the APMC ,I dont know where to place, so adding here
A bit on the political aspect people.Firstly, a bill if non-monetary can be introduced in either house of the Parliament and after being passed by the majority in both the houses, sent for the assent of the president and this is how a bill becomes an act.The Rajya Sabha has passed the two key farm bills already amid strong protests over their demand for a division of vote on their motion to refer the legislation to a select commitee.The manner in which they were passed in Parliament is criticised. In fact, the Opposition members who had earlier moved amendments refused to participate in the proceedings when the bill was being put to vote .The oldest ally of BJP Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned from the Cabinet in support of the farmers to express her dissent for the bills.Opposition parties including Congress,BSP, DMK , TMC are organising protest rallies while YSRCP and Janata Dal are in favor of the act.
Comments are highly anticipated busy people.Always up for critics and discussions, also any fact check and corrections will be encouraged and taken into consideration