Recently, a huge amount of attention was driven to the agricultural sector, due to the amendments in the new agricultural bill. The new bill consists of the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation), the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act being turned into laws. Under the law, we get to know that the Minimum Support Price mechanism will stay, and adequate protection of land ownership which is in place will protect farmer interests according to the Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.
The reforms will look forward towards accelerating growth through private sector investment in building infrastructure and supply chains for farm produce in national and global markets as well as helping small farmers to get a better price or invest in technology to improve the productivity of farms. The aim is also to sell the product outside APMC to whoever the farmers want.
In contrast to the decision taken it seems that the enactment of the bill would lead to the state losing commissions and contracts by the legislation on farming will allow farmers to enter into a contract with agri-business firms on pre-agreed prices of their produce. Adding to the existing list, commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion, and potatoes will be removed from the list of essential commodities and put an end to the imposition of stock-holding limits except under such vague circumstances.
Taking into consideration such huge impacts that the farmers would have to deal with, there are massive protests taking place across India. It’s not just one state but there are farmers from Punjab, Haryana, and some other parts who have come together in support and against these reforms. In the course of the protest, there was a nationwide strike in the form of ‘Bharat Bandh’ that was held. Then a day after the scheduled Bharat Bandh called by the Farmers’ Union, the Union Agriculture Minister called for a meeting on 9 December 2020 as the fifth round of talks remained inconclusive with farmers’ leaders. The protests have gained a lot of support from various individuals across the country, be it common man or celebrity, each one feels a sense of closeness to it since, in the end, it will affect all of us equally.
Contributed by Tyra Colaso, Content Writer at Mitti Ke Rang
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