Farm Bills 2020: Why Indian farmers are protesting against these Bills? Analysis in detail
Sep. 24, 2020
Amid strong protests from opposition members over their demand for a division of vote on their motion to refer the legislation to a select committee, the Rajya Sabha has passed two key farm bills. Moreover, this new legislation has invited a lot of trouble and protest by the farmers. On the other hand, farmers in Kanpur and Maharashtra have accepted the bill and considered it as a historical reformation in Indian Agri sector.
The Upper House passed by voice vote the Farmer's Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020. The bills have already been passed by the both upper and lower houses and will now go to the President for his assent before they are notified as laws.
What are the key provisions of Farm Bill 2020?
According to the government, the key provisions of the new legislation are aims to help small and marginal farmers who don’t have other ways to get a better price or invest in technology to improve the productivity of farms.
Farmers can Sell their Produce outside APMC
This bill allows farmers to sell their produce outside APMC ‘mandis’ to whoever they want. Anyone can buy their produce even at their farm gates. Though ‘commission agents’ of the ‘mandis’ and states could lose 'commissions' and 'mandi fees' respectively (the main reasons for the current protests), farmers will get better prices through competition and cost-cutting on transportation .
Why Farmers are Protesting against Farm Bill 2020?
The farmers who are vehemently opposing the bill believes that this bill is designed to help big corporate houses at the cost of farmers. The opposition parties have also opposed the three bills, calling them "anti-farmers".
Fear of not getting MSP
The issues and fears raised by the protesters include end of ‘minimum support price’ (MSP) regime in due course, irrelevance of state-controlled Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) ‘mandis’, risk of losing out land rights under contract farming rule, reduction in price of farm produce due to market domination by big agri-businesses and exploitation of farmers by big contractors through contract farming provisions.
The new reformations are likely to impact influential ‘commission agents’ (known as ‘arhatiyas’ in Punjab and Haryana) in ‘mandis’ who don’t want their grip over farmers to weaken.
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