By Nalini Mishra, Associate Partner with Mansi Batra, Legal Intern of Singhania & Co. LLP
“If Agriculture goes wrong, nothing else will have a chance to go right”M.S. Swaminathan
INDIA is growing rapidly and so is the technology sector of the country. But still, most of the population of the country is dependent on Agriculture as the source of income. A country that used to be vulnerable to food insecurity and relied on imports is now not only self sufficient, but also a net exporter. Agriculture sector has gradually changed their traditional techniques to modern one. Various reforms have been done by rulers of the country recently a major reform has been done by central government by passing three new farm related laws. The farmers of the country majorly depend on Minimum Support Price to sell the crops. The government till now was only using the socialist approach but now it is also using capitalist approach.
THE FARM LAW 2020 AND ITS REPEALING BILL – OVERVIEW
The parliament in September 2020 passed the three farm laws with an objective to bring reforms in the agriculture sector. Prior to the introduction of these three bills, the agricultural sector in India was primarily under the control of State Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) laws. Following are the three farm laws, which now stand repealed by the Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021 passed in the month of November, 2021:
- The Farmer’s Produce trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020:--This act basically allow the farmers to sell their produce outside the Agriculture produce market Committees(APMCs). Means any license holder trader can buy farm produce from the farmers at mutually agreed prices. These practices are free from the mandi tax which is imposed by the State government. Hence, they can even sell their produce to private companies or big organizations who are willing to buy the same at a higher price so to make more profits.
- The Farmer’s (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020:--This act gives farmers freedom to do contract farming, in this act, farmer can sell there produce in a hassle free manner. In this type of contact farming farmers are directly connected so there is a no role of intermediary in between.
- The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020:- The Central government has enacted this act as a reform to an older act of 1991. In this act commodities such as edible oil, onion, potato, food grains, pulses etc are removed from the list of essential commodities.
WHAT MADE THE GOVERNMENT REPEAL THREE FARM LAWS?
On 29th November Prime Minister Narender Modi repealed the three controversial farm laws. He said, “We worked to provide farmers with seeds at reasonable rates and facilities like micro-irrigation, 22 crore soil health cards. Such factors have contributed to increased agricultural production. However, we failed to make them understand about the benefits of the new laws and as such, we have decided to roll them back.”
The major reason for repealing these farm laws was the continuous protest from Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh farmers. The PM said that these laws were brought with a good intention and were also welcomed whole-heartedly by many farmers’ organizations across several parts of India. Though only a small section was protesting it was important for the government to consider their stand as well. Hence, many dialogues were held, and a proposal to suspend these laws temporarily was also put forth on the table, but nothing worked. This made the government repeal the three controversial farm laws.
The three Farm laws are being hailed as a turning point in Indian agriculture’s history, with the potential to kickstart a total revolution. Though these farm laws have been repealed as of now, they have brought into notice a lot of problems that farmers are actually facing. This sector, without a doubt, is in desperate need of changes. All that is required is a systematic way to bring reforms in the agricultural sector by taking into consideration the viewpoints of the concerned section of the society – farmers. The PM gave a ray of hope by announcing that a committee will be constituted to take decisions on all such matters keeping in view the future. In this committee, there will be representatives of the central government, state governments, farmers, agricultural scientists, agricultural economists. The reforms will aid in the development of a much more integrated market, the creation of competition, and the improvement of the agriculture sector’s marketing domain’s efficiency and effectiveness.