Government of India has enacted three farm bills in accordance with the agriculture reforms this year. Those farm bills are introduced in the monsoon session of this year and have been enacted by taking votes in the Rajya Shaba recently. There have been several oppositions to the bills by many parties in India. Despite the opposition, the farm bills have been passed. The Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has addressed those bills as the “watershed” moment in the agricultural background. This article gives the clear details of the farm bills and its pros and cons.
AGRICULTURAL REFORM BILLS
The farm bills that are passed in the session are Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, The Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act.
The Essential Commodities Act
The Essential Commodities Act, 1955 was introduced for the welfare of people. As certain products which include goods and edibles which are essential to people should be made available for them in the affordable price as said by the government. This act prevented the activities such as unauthorised market and shady dealings when there is a high need for the essentials. The amendment in the act features the removal of the restrictions held in the stocking procedures and held that the regulation to the stocking and their process will be made only in the natural calamities and deficits and in case of immediate rise in price.
The Essential Commodities Act will come into force only when there is high rise in the price of the products and when there high demand for it. The government will fix certain regulations for the essential commodities during the time of hike. For example when there is a hike in the price of onion last year, the government intervened in the process and stopped exporting the onions to other countries.
The amendment in the act added and the government should involve only in case of deficits and calamities, if the price of the perishable products are increased in hundred percent of the average retail price conquering the price of the next 12 months, and if the price of the non-perishable goods are increased in fifty percent of the average retail price conquering the price of the next 5 years. The restrictions to the storage of products and stock related units have been removed.
The government says that the amendment in the act will help farmers to trust in their cultivation and the relaxation in the stock helps them to store goods and sale them during the demand in the profitable price. This is a win-win solution for the farmers, traders and the customers.
Some feels that this act can create an artificial demand for certain products in the chain super market. The retailers can fix certain price with farmers and store a large amount of products in their units for their own profit. This is a common fear aroused among the public.
The Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act
The Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 was introduced for building the agriculture and increasing the income of the farmers. This farm bill enables the practice of agriculture in the preference of farmers. The trade practices are made openness and easier for the farmers and the traders.
This act promotes the free space in which the trading can be done outside the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) which gives the new competition and profits. This act adds value to the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and gives the constant income for the farmers. This act also enriched the online based agriculture trade i.e. the electronic trading.
The trade between the states and within state becomes easy. The policies in the act promote agriculture and trade without any obstacles. The farmers will get many open choices with the customers. This will certainly give way to farmers to enrich their trade and benefit people in need.
But in many states, the trading is done according to the guideless of the state with the inspection of the Agriculture officer. This act gives key to the farmers to sell his goods according to his wishes. If the farmer gets into business of selling certain product with the customer from the other state which is in high demand and the farmer is not aware of it that might be a loss for him. The act does not make sure that the fixed price of a product will be ensured for farmers in any trade.
The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020
The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 was introduced for the direct negotiation and dealings between the farmer and the customer. The contract basis agriculture was suggested which gives farmer the promised income through the agreement. This act overrules the all the state’s Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) rules.
The agreements regarding the trade and business can be made for one crop season or the production cycle between the farmer and the sponsor. In some contracts the third party is involved and it should be clearly mentioned in the agreement. The agreement should clearly impose all the details regarding the parties, the quality and supply of the product, payment and the date in which the products are to be delivered.
But the act failed to mention the details regarding the disputes which may rise during the contract period. The government promises that this act will be a huge win and a profitable measure for the farmers in the country.
WHY IT IS OPPOSED?
The reason for the opposition of the Farm bill is because there are different rules being followed by the State government. The central government has passed the farm bill without the consultation of the state government. The Congress party in the session held that they have already promised the same in their election declaration without repealing any existing laws. They also said that the BJP party has surrendered the agriculture to the corporate sectors. It was likely to be made as a business in which the corporate rules the primary sector ‘agriculture’ and fix its own price. The fear rise in the minds of the farmers that the failure to mention the Minimum Support Price (MSP).
The acts passed by the session makes a remarkable history in the Agriculture. This benefits many farmers, traders and the customers also. With all the changes mentioned above, I believe these acts induce people to involve in the agricultural sector. The involvement of people in the agriculture will become high. In near future the agriculture will become a life style that every people will adapt. The ‘One Nation, One Agriculture’ scheme is a step towards the development of the country.
 ECA,2020 BILL < https://www.prsindia.org/sites/default/files/bill_files/ECA.pdf>
 The Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill <http://agricoop.nic.in/sites/default/files/219745.pdf>
The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020 <https://www.prsindia.org/sites/default/files/bill_files/Price%20Assurance.pdf>