An effigy of Pm Modi, was burnt today by the farmers in Punjab. This was in protest against the three Farm Bills, which have been claimed to be ‘historic’ by the PM and as ‘a corporate feast in the garb of reform’ by his detractors. Here are the details of the Bills-
Bill No 1- Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce ( Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020- The main points under this bill are- To create an ecosystem where farmers and traders enjoy the freedom to sell and purchase farm produce outside registered Mandis under the states APMCs. To promote barrier free interstate and intrastate trade of farmers’ produce. Creating a facility to trade electronically. Reducing the cost of marketing and transportation.
Bill No 2- The Farmer ( Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Services Bill, 2020. Here are the details-Farmers can enter into a contract with agribusiness firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters or large retailers for sale of future farming produce at pre-agreed prices. The transfer of risk of market unpredictability from farmers to sponsors. Farmers can engage in direct marketing by eliminating intermediaries for full price realisation.
Bill No 3- The Essential Commodities ( Amendment) Bill, 2020. This what this Bill says- To relive commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, onions and potatoes from the list of essential commodities. It will do away with the imposition of stockholding limits on such items except under ‘extraordinary circumstances’ like war.
Though on the onset, the reforms seem to beneficial to the farmers, 250 farming organisations are protesting, today. The farmers are unsure whether they will be able to sell their produce, without getting manipulated by the corporate structure and the states are worried that, the slow dismantling of the Mandi will eat into their income.
The Farmers are demanding the following, from the government-
1) Roll back of the ordinances
2) Protection of the APMC ( Mandi)
3) Loan Clearance
4) New Laws for regulation of MSP. (Minimum support price)