Farmer outfits are persevering with to protest the brand new legislations in agriculture. On Sunday, amidst uproar from the opposition events two of the three Payments had been handed in Rajya Sabha. Final week when these Payments had been handed within the decrease home, Shiromani Akali Dal’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who was the Minister of Meals Processing, stop the cupboard. Why this drama?
It was the Congress which in its 2019 election manifesto promised to repeal the APMC Act. All that the Invoice on farm produce commerce has carried out is to provide farmers the liberty to determine to whom they promote; it removes the compulsion to promote to the licensed brokers of APMC (Agriculture Produce Market Committee). So, the explanation for the protests is just not clear.
As for the difficulty of the Centre’s intrusion into the States’ jurisdiction, it’s only beneath the powers given by the Structure that the Centre has enacted these items of laws. The concern that the laws will result in the top of MSP procurement is unwarranted. Even at current, there are a lot of procurement centres exterior the APMC that have interaction in MSP operations. The brand new laws doesn’t say it should shut APMCs. It solely says that it’s proscribing the powers of APMCs to their bodily boundaries, and opening up the area to personal gamers.
It seems that the concern of protesters is that the brand new laws will verify cash circulate within the palms of APMCs; in Haryana and Punjab, the market price is 4-6 per cent, respectively (1-2 per cent in different States). But, the infrastructure is just not nice on the mandis. It is just proper that the brand new laws has minimize out a supply of revenue for APMCs by saying they can’t cost a cess on commerce that takes place exterior its yard. Nevertheless, there are some considerations within the new legal guidelines that the Centre ought to deal with.
Why the concern?
The concern of farmers that the MSP procurement will cease is misplaced. The Agriculture Minister has stated that MSP procurement is not going to cease. Just a few weeks again, the goal procurement for kharif paddy was elevated to 49.5 million tonnes, nearly 20 per cent soar over final 12 months. So, farmers needn’t fear. The MSP for kharif 2020 paddy has additionally been elevated. Even when it so occurs that APMCs shut down on not having the ability to stand up to competitors, MSP operations will proceed by means of authorities procurement centres. Farmers’ outfits want to grasp that exterior the APMC mandi, there will probably be extra patrons for farmers’ produce (as they won’t be charged any levy), serving to efficient worth discovery. Farmers’ bargaining energy will enhance.
The brand new laws might throw some middlemen out of enterprise. That’s no calamity, given their minimal position within the agri-marketing ecosystem and exploitative relationship with farmers. In APMCs in Punjab and Haryana, agent fee is about 2.5 per cent. Therefore, it isn’t stunning that the arhitya group is in opposition to the brand new legal guidelines. If arhityas are certainly taking part in a related position out there, they need to not fear about shedding their work. The APMCs in Punjab and Haryana are additionally dreading the brand new laws. There are causes for this: In all these years, from the mandi price collected they haven’t created sufficient infrastructure, and now there’s concern of shedding enterprise to personal markets. In Punjab and Haryana, the mandi price collected by APMCs fills up the coffers of the State authorities — a motive why the States don’t want the brand new laws.
There are particular features of the legislation which haven’t been effectively thought out. First, provided that free commerce is allowed, there needs to be a provision to register personal gamers, verify the programs they’ve in place for weighment of farmers’ produce, their worth auctioning and fee mechanism and different amenities. Additionally, it ought to have drawn out a regulatory framework for supervision of all commerce (no matter its being carried out on the digital market or bodily market). Additional, the laws ought to have thrown mild on how it will seize commerce information and construct a market intelligence system, which is essential for decision-making by the federal government on export/import, costs, inflation management, and so forth.
It will have been ultimate had the laws introduced the creation of an umbrella entity that may take all smaller main markets throughout the nation beneath its fold and convey uniformity in commerce and laws. One other situation with regard to the Farmers’ Commerce Promotion Invoice is that the grievance redress system is weak. One is just not positive no less than within the preliminary section how a excessive variety of grievances can be dealt with by a Sub-Divisional Justice of the Peace.
The opposite concern is that the Invoice has clubbed FPOs with merchants and made it obligatory for them to pay the farmers on the identical day or inside three days, which is unreasonable given the lengthy working capital cycle of FPOs.
Instituting these safeguards will make the reforms foolproof.