“Free trade is a policy imposed at weakest and evaded by the most powerful.”
BJP presented themselves as pro farmers in the 2019s Loksabha elections by saying, the farmers’ income will be doubled by 2022. But if we dig into the current three ordinances passed on the 3rd of June then one will have to rethink a bit to believe governments’ claim of doubling farmers’ income.
The Government has introduced a new law — The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020, or the (FPTC) Ordinance – to end the monopoly of the Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMC) and allow anyone to purchase and sell agricultural produce. This is the worst attack on the federal right of state government as agriculture is an in-state list under the 7th schedule of the Indian Constitution.
It will also hamper the state government’s income as well. The Punjab government and various farmer unions are blaming that the corporate industry will exploit farmers by purchasing crops at desirable prices.
To register a protest and dissent against these ordinances farmers of Punjab and Haryana did tractor rallies. In the same thread, a rally was conducted in Bathinda, Punjab. In this rally a 17 years old girl, Baldeep participates who has passed the class 10th examination. She drove the tractor with his grandfather. She claimed that her grandmother and grandfather both are the members of the Kisaan Union.
She said, “I have always been inspired by them. So when I heard about tractor rallies against ordinances that are not farmer-friendly, I decided to become a part of it. We are already under losses as petrol and diesel prices are rising day by day and at this time allowing corporate society to interfere is a backlash on our financial plight.”
Rahul Raj, State President of National Farmers Labor Organization Madhya Pradesh, in an interview with AajTak told that the current price of moong in Madhya Pradesh as evidence of the arbitrariness of the MSP and traders coming to the end of the mandi system.
The minimum support price of moong i.e MSP is declared at Rs 7196 per quintal. But due to the non-commencement of government procurement, traders are demanding arbitrary prices.
Farmers are getting a maximum price of Rs 5200 per quintal for moong. Farmers are compelled to sell moong at any cost because they have no place to keep it safe in this rainy season.
The second ordinance is – The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020, or FAPAFS — has been enacted to legalize contract farming so that businesses tycoons can cultivate vast belts of land on contractual basis.
Kapil, a farmer from Daulatpura village in Sri Ganganagar district, told in an interview to Patrika “I cultivate soybean, mint, groundnut, wheat, and gram around 35 bighas as indicated by the harvest cycle and whenever the timing is ideal. My fields are additionally useful for these harvests. ” Kapil asks is this conceivable in contract cultivating? He clarifies, “No organization will do various agreements with every farmer.” And when that doesn’t occur, at that point it will rely upon his will and need to develop what he needs.”
In a situation of pandemic, making laws that have been restricted for decades, through ordinance, raise questions on the intention of the government.
This apprehension seems to be exacerbated when, a week before the ordinance is issued, Reliance Group launches a new endeavor “Geo Mart” to do business in the consumer goods category.
Before the “Geo Mart“, which started under the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Group, many big brands including ITC, Ramdev’sPatanjali, and Adani Wilmer were present in the market but they were never taken so seriously. No backing was given by the legislature by keeping it in a plate-like this.
Third, the government has amended the Essential Commodities Act to remove the existing restrictions on stocking food produce. The Essential Act 1955 was enacted to set the maximum limit for the stockpile of agricultural produce and to forestall black marketing. But the stock limit has been lifted in the new system. This will increase the hoarding and black showcase.
If the government really wanted to bring historical changes in the laws related to agriculture for the benefit of the farmers, then why did it need to cut parliament debating and the public examining of these laws? What was the need that these changes were made through the back door and that too in such an emergency on the health front?
In some way or other the government is misusing article 249, under which the central government has the power of legislation regarding any subject, even in the state list, if the government considers this to be necessary “in the national interest”.
The greatest interest so far for agricultural reform and farmers’ interest is to implement the Swaminathan Commission recommendations.
The government is talking about one nation one market but the question here arises about one nation one rate. Every government claims to implement it. But even after a decade and a half, they have not been implemented. In such a situation, there is a doubt about how much the recent laws will do to the farmers.
Witten By Chanderveer Singh
Image Source Google