India’s landscape over the years has evolved from primitive to modern methods and the pressure of a high-class supply for better produce ultimately falls on the farmer. Over the years, farmers have been fighting for a Farm Bill law that allows them to negotiate with the competitive market, a place where the voice man has to be louder than anyone else. You soft, you lose. The market isn’t for the feeble farmer. This has caused impending problems to the farmer with the failure of land and maintenance, unable to pay back loans, and stacked up rents. The farmer finds his ultimate solution, Suicide.
The farm bills over the years haven vague and incomprehensible to the farmer, considering their uneducated backgrounds, the farm bills have failed to incorporate the Indian value of understanding. On June 5, the government had put forward three farm bills or ordinances related to the agricultural marketing of the existing farmer framework in the country. These farm bills come with the following offers;
- The MSP (minimum support price) feature will continue benefiting the farmers.
- Farmers can continue selling their products wherever and whenever they wish to.
- Now, middlemen will be unallowed to be involved in the sale of the farmers’ products to the consumers.
- Restrictions on the storage of agricultural produce will be relaxed.
What is MSP – Minimum Support Price
The Farm bill also ponders upon the MSP fact. The MSP or Minimum selling Price is a scheme that the government had introduced wherein, if a crop is fundamentally profiting for the farmer, the remuneration of the crop shall be considered for the farmer and the crop will be legally bound to be supported by the finance of the government. The government now finances 23 legal crops and finances the farmers for the cultivation of these crops as per the farm bill.
The union agricultural minister also approved of the Farm Bill and the fact that the farmer’s MSP rights will not be shed away and their opinions and ideas will not be sold and bartered with for multinational concerns. The Farm bill supports the farmers in having complete right on how to sell their products, where to distribute their products and how to distribute their products in their style and interests. They shall not be involved with middlemen and thus the considerable commission the farmers would have to pay to the middlemen will now be a promising and enormous factor for the farmers. They can now avail of options to chose their place of sale for at a minimum price to supply their products and hence improve the marketing facilities that India failed to achieve over the past many years.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’ Farm Bill allows the farmers to sell their products outside the APMC mandis. He furthermore says that the MSP wasn’t a part of the law, and it will never be a part of the farm bill as well.
The Rising protests – who’s against what?
The farm bill promises a better incentive opportunity for the farmers. The upper House of the Rajya Sabha had approved the bill following the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce bill 2020. The Farm bill had introduced better relaxation of payments and other such petty fees have been exempted, allowing the farmers to take a breather. The banks have also started to issue loans that gratify the need of the farmers at a very low-interest payback rate.
The introduction of the Farm bill triggered many of the Mandi owners for whom the commission gained by the sale of the farmers produce was the income they received. And now with the farm bill, the framers have been allowed to sell their produce inciting rage among the owners and now they will have to discover innovative ways to start earning during a COVID stricken situation. The farm bill also cuts down the expenses that the farmer had to pay for the transportation that these mandi owners wouldn’t payback.
These ordinances passed along with the farm bill were protested by parties like the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination (AIKSCC), Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) have protested against the Farm bill and organized many hartals against the farm bill. Some of the opposition parties have also criticized the farm bill by terming it an “Anti-farmers” bill and wanted the immediate removal of the bill. The Punjab Government also cited disapproval on the farm bill considering the heavy mandi tax loss they would face after the implementation of the farm bill and call the loss an estimated 1,600 – 3,500 Crore losses each year.
The present marketing facilities that the bill provides mightn’t have favored the Indian Farmers yet due to sole responsibilities that Farmers might have to put in to set up trade and consumer. The Mandi system allowed reducing the effort of the farmers in the sale but the Mandi Owners would swallow a chunk of earnings that would have helped the farmers in their livelihood and settlements of loans and much more petty payments. The Farm bill is a symbol of hope to the farmers who have seen the worst phase in their lives after the onion crop disaster and the COVID-19 Pandemic and this would have effectively improved the toll of the situation.