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THE FARM BILL, 2020 – POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE SIDES

Author : Harshit Khandelwal

POSITIVE SIDE

1. No eradication rather flourishment of APMCs –

The application of the 1st Act will not result in the suppression of the APMCs in the State. It would rather give rise to a healthy competition between the APMCs and the lately introduced agricultural trade and commerce apparatus. The purpose of regulating agricultural markets was to safeguard farmers from exploitation by intermediaries, certify superior prices and convenient remittance which it failed to attain. The APMCs have certainly not been able to increase the financial firmness or quality of living of the farmers.

2. Competent Legislation

The dispute that these Acts are an assay to attack co-operative federalism is baseless for Entry 42 in the Union List of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution sign up for inter-State Trade and Commerce and Entry 33 in the Concurrent List also authorize both the Centre and the State Governments to pass laws upon trade and commerce concerning to the production, supply and distribution of the products of any industry managed by the Union including products such as edible oils, cattle fodder, etc. So, both the entries if read together, will capacitate the Parliament to make laws upon these subjects.

3. Instant payment mechanism

Both the 1st and the 2nd Act make rigid provisions of the remittance of purchase-money to the Farmer by the Trader and Financer respectively. The Trader is bound to reimburse the Farmer on the same day of delivery or within maximum of three working days after delivery and needs him to give a receipt of delivery with the admission of payment due to the Farmer on the same day.

NEGATIVE SIDE

1. Incompetent Legislation

The three Acts are in absolute breach of the Constitutional provisions by applying the test of doctrine of colorable legislation. Colorable Legislation is that beneath the ‘color’ or guise of the power conferred for one specific motive, the legislature cannot look to attain some other purpose which it is otherwise not capable to legislate upon. Simply, a Statute tries to do indirectly what it cannot do directly.

2. No protection to farmers

MSP means in case the market value for the product falls under the stated minimum price due to abundant production and surplus in the market, government organizations like Food Corporation of India [FCI] procure the whole quantity provided by the farmers at the stated minimum price for the public distribution system. Let us recognize the ramifications of the non-appearance of MSP in the new structure of farm trade and commerce with the following example. In 2018, the Devendra Fadnavis led Maharashtra government had amended the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act in 2018 making it illegal for private traders to acquire farm commodities beneath the official Minimum Support Price (MSP).

3. Beneficial to Private Businessmen only

The decision of the Government to modulate the supply of determined essential commodities only under exceptional/extraordinary conditions and boosting of the stock-holding limit with some circumstances is derisive as it will lead to unbelievable hoarding and inflation in the market. Only in case of considerable price rise of the Horticultural produce and non-perishable agricultural produce will the Government come into action and pass an order for controlling stock-limit of any agricultural produce and in that too, the processors and value chain contributor have been spared to follow this order if they have sufficient demand of export or the stock limit of such person does not surpass the overall ceiling of the installed volume of processing.

4. No Regulatory Authority

The APMC structure was controlled by the State Government, so the Farmers also had the feeling of security that there is a watch of the biggest authority of the State over the system. But now due to over-liberalization, there is a sense of fear in them that they would be deceived by the sturdy and professional businessmen. There is no deterrence left in the system.

OPINION

Not everything in the three Acts is inappropriate. There are loopholes in the Acts. There are many whys and hows, that these Acts are incapable to answer. In both acts, the Parliament has not stated what should be the payment procedure. The third Act should be repealed as it is draconian in the sense that it will strengthen hoarding, inflation, and black -marketing.

The rationale for its formulation given that there is a sizeable production in the country in this period proportionately hence, there is a need to permit the demand to hike is illogical. It should first examine whether the common man of its country is capable or is in a position to afford the necessities of his life. If not, then what is the point of protruding a vacant picture to the world that inflation in our country implies bedrock per-capita income.

REFERENCE

1. Sthanu R Nair and Reddy Sai Shiva Jayanth, “How farmers view the existing Mandi system”. <https://www.newindianexpress.com/opinions/2020/dec/12/how-farmers-view-the-existing-mandi-system-2235123.> Accessed on 18th January, 2021.

2. Harikishan Sharma, “What is the Essential Commodities Act, and how will amending it help?” <https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/essential-commodities-act-amendments-explained-6442362/> Accessed on 18th January, 2021.

3. Rituraj Tiwari, “No middlemen, yet farmers still sell produce below MSP” <https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/agriculture/no-middlemen-yet-farmers-still-sell-produce-below-%20msp/articleshow/75468415.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst> Accessed on 18th January, 2021.

4. Jitendra, “More than 60% markets sell agricultural produce below MSP” <https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/agriculture/more-than-60-markets-sell-agricultural-produce-below-msp-61921> Accessed on 18th January, 2021.

5. <http://agmarknet.gov.in/> Accessed on 18th January, 2021.

6. Agriculture Census 2015-16

7. “Swaminathan Report: National Commission on Farmers” <https://www.prsindia.org/report-summaries/swaminathan-report-national-commission-farmers> Accessed on 18th January, 2021.

 8. <https://legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-4549-the-farmer-s-acts-2020-positive-and-negative-sides.html> Accessed on 18th January, 2021.