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The Three Agriculture Act:
The Three Agriculture Act passed by the Parliament were:
- Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act.
- Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act.
- Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.
Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has given a shocking statement on the withdrawn agricultural laws. Addressing a program in Nagpur, Maharashtra, Tomar said that the Agriculture Act was the biggest reform brought after 70 years of independence. But it had to be withdrawn after some people protested. He further said that we have taken a step back. But we will move on again. The government is looking ahead, we are not disappointed. Farmers are the backbone of India.
Announced the withdrawal of law on November 19
Let us inform you that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address on November 19, 2021, on the occasion of Prakash Parv of Guru Nanak Dev, had announced the withdrawal of all three agricultural laws. After the law was withdrawn in Parliament, the President gave its final assent on 1 December. This is being considered a big bet of the government before the Punjab and Uttar Pradesh elections.
700 farmers lost their lives in a one-year agitation
The longest farmers’ movement in the country’s history began on the borders of Delhi in protest against the three new agricultural laws that were implemented on 17 September 2020. The spark of the smoggy movement from Punjab had spread throughout the country. Thousands of farmers marched to Delhi demanding complete repeal of the law as part of the ‘Delhi Chalo’ campaign. Farmers of Punjab, Haryana, UP, Rajasthan and other states of the country had laid siege to Delhi for 378 days.
In Haryana, the process of withdrawal of cases filed against farmers started:
The process of withdrawing the cases registered against the farmers has started in Haryana during the Kisan Andolan. Earlier, the government had written a letter to the SP and District Attorney of all the districts of the state, seeking an opinion regarding the cases. After getting the opinion, now the government has ordered the District Deputy Commissioner to withdraw the case
There are 276 cases registered against farmers in Haryana. Of these, 4 are of murder and rape. These cases will not be returned. Out of 272 cases, the charge sheets of 178 are in court. 57 cases are untraceable, so these will be returned. The process of cancellation of 29 cases has been started and the cancellation report of 8 is ready.
A consensus was reached on these issues:
MSP: The Central Government will form a committee, in which representatives of the United Kisan Morcha will be taken. The crops on which MSP is being received at present will continue. The number of purchases made at MSP will also not be reduced.
Case withdrawal: Haryana, Uttar Pradesh government has agreed to return the case. The cases registered by the Railways with Delhi and other Union Territories will also be returned immediately.
Compensation: Compensation has also been agreed upon in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Like the Punjab government, a compensation of 5 lakh will be given here too.
Electricity Bill: The government will not take the electricity amendment bill directly to the Parliament. First, it will be discussed with all the concerned parties apart from the farmers.
Pollution Act: Farmers had an objection to section 15 regarding the pollution law, in which there is a provision of fine, not imprisoned the farmers. It will be removed by the central government.
What was in the three agricultural laws?
- The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020 What’s in the law? According to the government, it has such an eco-system, where farmers can sell crops at any place they want. Inter-state and intra-state businesses can do business without any hassle. Even outside the purview of the APMCs of the states. You can also sell your crops through electronic trading. In the areas where farmers have a surplus crop, they will get a good price in those states. Similarly, in the states where there is a shortage, they will get the goods at a lower price. What’s the objection? Farmers used to get a fair price for their crops from the mandis. This regulates the market. The states get income in the form of mandi fees, from which basic facilities are provided for the farmers. If the mandis are over, then the farmers will not get MSP i.e. Minimum Support Price.
- The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020 What’s in the law? According to the government, the risks related to farming will not shift to the farmers, but to those who make agreements with them. Contract farming will get a national framework. Farmers will be able to sell the crop to agri-business companies, processors, wholesalers, exporters and big retailers at mutually fixed prices by entering into agreements with them. If there is a dispute, there will be an effective system for its settlement within the time limit. The written agreement shall contain the terms and conditions relating to supply, quality, grade, standards and price. Even if the price of the crop is low, the farmers will get the guaranteed price on a contract basis. There will also be a provision for a bonus or premium. What’s the objection? The law promises to protect against exploitation of prices, but not a mechanism to fix prices. It was feared that this would give private corporate houses a means to exploit the farmers. Critics feared that the agriculture sector was unorganized. In such a situation, when it came to fighting the corporates, the resources could be scarce.
- Essential Commodity (Reform) What’s in the law? This law would have helped in the modernization of cold storage and the food supply chain. This would have helped in maintaining price stability for the farmers as well as the consumers. The stock limit would have been applicable only if the prices of vegetables doubled or the retail price of the non-perishable crop increased by 50%. Cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onions and potatoes were removed from the list of essential commodities. This would eliminate government control over production, storage, movement and distribution. In war, natural calamity, extraordinary rise in prices and other circumstances, the central government would have taken control. What’s the objection? Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had said that with the removal of regulation on food items, exporters, processors and traders can hoard during the harvest season. This will lead to volatility in prices. Food security will end completely. The states will not even know how much stock of which commodity is in the states. This can increase black marketing of essential commodities.