ARTICLE ON THE FARMERS BILL, 2020

This article has been written by Sayanti Mukherjee during her internship.

• INTRODUCTION :-

Farmers, as we all know, are the most important part for our agricultural sector. They are the only way by which we can have our food for survival. The Agricultural sector being the backbone of Indian Economy requires the farmers to protect them from all kinds of ill-wills and should also be protected Constitutionally Vide Article 21 of the CONSTITUTION OF INDIA.
The Ministry of Agriculture And Farmers Welfare introduced the Farm Bill, 2020 in Lok Sabha on 14th September 2020. It was passed on Lok Sabha on 17th September 2020.Thereafter after passing on Rajya Sabha on 20th September, received the Presidential Assent on 24th September 2020.

THREE BILLS WERE PASSED THAT CAME INTO FORCE.
They are:-

  1. FARMERS (EMPOWEREMENT AND PROTECTION) AGREEMENT ON PRICE ASSURANCE AND FARM SERVICES ACT, 2020
  2. FARMERS PRODUCE TRADE AND COMMERCE (PROMOTION AND FACILITATION) ACT, 2020
  3. THE ESSENTIAL COMMMODITIES (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2020.

• PROMULGATION:-
All the three bills were promulgated by the Union Cabinet on 5th June,2020 by various ordinances.
LET US DISCUSS ABOUT THEM BRIEFLY.

  1. FARMERS (EMPOWEREMENT AND PROTECTION) AGREEMENT ON PRICE ASSURANCE AND FARM SERVICES ACT, 2020
  • BASIS = It gave rise to contract farming between buyers and the farmers on the basis of a legal agreement. It leads the time limit, the quality and certain rules and the amount to be paid shall be mentioned in such legal agreement respectively. Therefore it would be a guaranteed price. This Bill established the Dispute Settlement Body between the farmers and the buyers. This legal agreement is to protect the position of the farmers from any kind of exploitation and wouldn’t lead to vitiate their economic position.
  • MAIN PROVISIONS=
  • The new legislature will help the farmers to deal or to come with an agreement with the buyers who can be wholesalers, large retailers, exporters, etc.
  • There should be a legal contract between the buyers and the farmers regarding the quality of product they want. The buyer will be having the right to denote the stipulated quality and quantity that the farmer is obliged to meet.
  • The Agreement should be containing the clause regarding the price to be paid to the farmers .This averment is to protect the farmers or to safeguard them from the exploitation in the hands of the buyers.
  • The minimum period of farming agreement shall be for one crop season or one production cycle of livestock.
  • The legal agreement also gives the duty on the hands of the buyers to enable the farmers to access to modern technologies and better use of inputs. Then they can flourish and provide better facilities.
  • The payment will be received by farmers within 3 days as per maximum limit. This agreement has given power in the hands of farmers to fix the sale price as per their choice.
  • The farmers won’t have to move here and there for selling which will reduce their cost of marketing. Also the buyers have to come to pick the produce from the farmers.
  • The term of agreement of farming will be for 5 years. Any kind of extension needs the mutual settlement of both the parties and importantly it should be jotted down in such agreement.

2. FARMERS PRODUCE TRADE AND COMMERCE (PROMOTION AND FACILITATION) ACT, 2020

• BASIS :-

This new legislative bill so passed was with the intention to help the farmers to trade their products outside the Mandis as well as Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Yard through intra and inter trade and a barrier free trade. It also guides to electronic trading as well.

  • MAIN PROVISIONS:-
  • The farmers shall be having a freedom to carry on intra and inter states trade as well .Thereby, they will be having a lots of options to earn more. They can either sell in Mandis or APMC Yard and will be getting a lots of choices.
  • There is an institution of electronic registration of a trader, modes of transaction and payment of farmers produce. This will help the farmers to have more options of earning.
  • The payment is to be made within a maximum limit of 3days.Also due payment can be given to farmers on the same day.
  • No cases, levy shall be levied on the farmers or traders on electronic trading under the Agricultural Produce And Livestock Marketing Committee Yard or any other yard. Also farmers won’t have to bear any transportation cost.
  • The farmers’ will be having a full realization of price as intermediaries are removed. Also they can now deal or trade with cold storage units, processing units etc.
  • The farmers shall be denoting their Minimum Supply Prices now and thereafter can sell their produce to anyone as per their will.
  • The dispute if any could be resolved by filling to the Sub Divisional Magistrate who will refer such dispute to the Conciliation Board.
  • In case of contravention of any averments, a penalty of not less than Rs.25,000 will be imposed which can also extend up to Rs.5 lakh, and the person owing or controlling the electronic trading if causes any contravention shall be penalized with not less than Rs.50,000and can also extend to Rs.1 lakh.
  • If contravention occurs as per the first part and if it is a continuing one then such person shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding Rs.5000per day starting from the day when contravention arises and in case of contravention as per the second part a penalty will be imposed exceeding Rs.10,000 rupees per day from the day of such contravention.
  1. THE ESSENTIAL COMMMODITIES (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2020.

• BASIS:-
The basis of this Act is to limit certain commodities as well as removing certain commodities which were be denoted as essential beforehand. It is to control and regulate the stock limit and the prices.

MAIN PROVISIONS:-

  • Removing of certain foodstuffs such as oil, edible oilseeds, potatoes, cereals and pulses from the essential list. It can be included in the essentials list during times of war, famine, natural calamities, etc. and extraordinary price rise.

This was because it was seen that due to inclusion of these items in the essential list many people started doing hoardings and thereafter prices tended to fall which brought a danger for the farmers. Only removing these items will lead an increase in the income of the farmers.

  • Also Government in order to safeguard the public initiated that if price of more than 50% on nonperishable items such as oil, edible oilseeds, etc. will increase and 100% in respect of perishable items will increase like potatoes, onions, etc. then the Government will bring these items into the essential list again.
  • This Bill will lead to investment of public and foreign sector in agricultural sector.

• PROS:-
We can hereby find out certain advantages of these ACTS.

  1. The Farmers Bill, 2020 will help the farmers to boost their economic position as they can now trade with anyone and knowing the product quantity as well as quality can produce it adequately.
  2. The farmers can sell to various places outside Mandis without any transportation cost. This is made possible by way of electronic trading. These will also increase their economic position and knowledge.
  3. The farmers won’t be at the sake of middleman any more as companies will be providing them with training. As per reports ITC has been doing a wonderful work in respect of increasing farmers knowledge. Now farmer can sell on their own without anyone’s help.
  4. The commodities were earlier hoarded by some people and as we know demand decreases and price decreases in case of essential commodities .Now removing certain items will lead the farmers to earn more.
  5. The Bill was so passed to let the farmers to earn not only from the Mandis but also outside. Needful to mention it not only safeguarded farmers rights but also the rights of traders, consumers etc.

CONS:-

We can see that various defects has been plotted out from these Bills so passed. Various farmers were heard to commit suicide due to this stipulated Bill and also protesting all day.
These defects has been so jotted down as below

1) The promises of the Government were being highly doubted by the farmers. Previously the Government passed Agricultural Produce And Livestock Marketing Committee Act where it was so mentioned that 80% of markets will be set up for the farmers but in reality nothing such ever happened.
2) The farmers now believed that they were assured that middleman thought about them and provided them right prices. But now if there will be no such relationship then due to lack of knowledge they will be crumbled to an in definite extent.
3) The farmers have no knowledge of Minimum Support Prices. Lack of education will lead them to earn less and less and they now believe that they will be cheated very easily.
4) The small farmers will never be able to do intra and interstate trade as they don’t have adequate money to do so. Thus the bill passed will only benefit the big famers.
5) Lack of education will not make them understand the electronic trading ways.

CONCLUSION

The Farmers Bill, passed on September 2020, is fruitful as well as devastating in respect of Government as well as farmers. If the provisions will be so rightly applied then farmers will be the most happiest and grateful ones. The provisions if implemented will be for the best of the farmers as it would be boosting their social, economic position by enabling them to know and earn more. But now the problem is farmers do not have adequate education to understand their rights, therefore the main concern should be as of now to educate the farmers to understand the nature of their rights and how to get them. Thus, it can be concluded that farmers and Government should sit together to discuss about the plan and to make this brilliant plan an effective one.

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