The Indian Parliament today passed two bills - Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 aimed at transforming agriculture in the country and raising farmers’ incomes.
The bills were passed by Lok Sabha on 17th September 2020 and were passed by the Rajya Sabha today. The bills were introduced in Lok Sabha on 14th September 2020 by Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Narendra Singh Tomar to replace ordinances promulgated on 5th June 2020.
Speaking about the bills, Narendra Singh Tomar said that the government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken several landmark decisions in the last six years to ensure that farmers get remunerative prices for their produce and for raising farmers’ incomes and livelihood status.
He again clarified that the procurement at Minimum Support Price (MSP) will continue, assurance for this has been given by Prime Minister himself, rate of MSP has been increased considerably during 2014-2020 and MSP for the coming Rabi season will be announced in the coming week. The Union Agriculture Minister said that full protection has been ensured to farmers in these legislations.
The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 - The new legislation will create an ecosystem where the farmers and traders will enjoy freedom of choice of sale and purchase of agri-produce. It will also promote barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade and commerce outside the physical premises of markets notified under State Agricultural Produce Marketing legislations.
The farmers will not be charged any cess or levy for sale of their produce and will not have to bear transport costs.
The Bill also proposes an electronic trading in transaction platform for ensuring a seamless trade electronically. In addition to mandis, freedom to do trading at farmgate, cold storage, warehouse, processing units etc. Farmers will be able to engage in direct marketing thereby eliminating intermediaries resulting in full realization of price.
The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 - The new legislation will empower farmers for engaging with processors, wholesalers, aggregators, wholesalers, large retailers, exporters etc., on a level playing field. Price assurance to farmers even before sowing of crops. In case of higher market price, farmers will be entitled to this price over and above the minimum price. It will transfer the risk of market unpredictability from the farmer to the sponsor.
Due to prior price determination, farmers will be shielded from the rise and fall of market prices. It will also enable the farmer to access modern technology, better seed and other inputs. It will reduce the cost of marketing and improve income of farmers. Effective dispute resolution mechanism has been provided for with clear timelines for redressal. Impetus to research and new technology in the agriculture sector.