- Recently, the Prime Minister announced the repeal of the three contentious farm laws
- The Parliament has the authority to enact, amend, and repeal any law.
- The farm laws had witnessed protests from farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, on the borders of Delhi for more than a year.
- Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020: It is aimed at allowing trade in agricultural produce outside the existing APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) mandis.
- Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020: It seeks to provide a framework for contract farming.
- Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020: It is aimed at removing commodities such as cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potato from the list of essential commodities.
- There has been a long-pending demand for reforms in agricultural marketing, a subject that comes under the purview of state governments.
- The Centre took the issue up in the early 2000s by pushing for reforms in the APMC Acts of the states.
- The Agriculture Ministry under the then government designed a model APMC Act in 2003 and circulated it among the states.
- The subsequent government, too, pushed for these reforms. But given that it is a state subject, the Centre has had little success in getting the states to adopt the model APMC Act.
- It was in this backdrop that the government went for reforms in the sector by passing these laws.
- The first and foremost demand of the protesting farmers’ organisations is the repeal of three new agricultural laws.
- As per the farmers the law is framed to suit big corporations who seek to dominate the Indian food and agriculture business and will weaken the negotiating power of farmers. Also, big private companies, exporters, wholesalers, and processors may get an edge.
On a positive note, the tryst with the farm laws could provide important lessons to the government. The most important lesson being that the process of economic reforms has to be more consultative, more transparent and better communicated to the potential beneficiaries.
SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT