Agri Ordinances anti-federal, will hamper food security: CPM

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 04, 2020 Published on June 04, 2020

‘Will pave way for artificial shortages and affect food security’

The CPI(M) has asked the Centre to rescind the three ordinances approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday regarding agriculture. A statement by the Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) said the proposed amendments to the Essential Commodities Act removes all regulations on the pricing and availability of key agricultural commodities essential for the country’s food security.

It added that such proposals pave the way for artificial shortages due to speculation by middlemen and traders and adversely affect the country’s food security. “Further, these amendments, by removing all restrictions and providing ‘barrier free inter-state and intra-state’ sale of agricultural produce pave the way for contract farming by promoting trade and commerce outside the premises or markets covered under the Agricultural Produce Market Committees (mandis). Licences for electronic trading will pave the way for speculative forward trading in all agricultural commodities. These open the way for the entry of big multinational agri-businesses and domestic corporates to freely access India’s agricultural produce and markets,” the statement added.

Affect support net

Such measures will lead to the abandonment of ensuring procurement at a reasonable minimum support price, the Polit Bureau claimed. “The net gainer of all these amendments would be the middlemen, traders and financial intermediaries who will squeeze both the producer, the farmer, and the consumer. This is a recipe for the total destruction of whatever little of the public distribution system that is left,” the party said.

CPI (M) said the aggressive pursuit of neo-liberal reforms by the Modi government is threatening to bring back the days of ruthless exploitation under the British rule for the Indian farmers. “The due process of scrutiny by the parliamentary standing committee on agriculture must be done before these are enacted as laws. Importantly, Agriculture is a state subject under the Indian Constitution. The Union Cabinet has approved these ordinances without consulting the elected State governments. This is a gross violation of our Constitution. Even if the parliament considers and legislates on it, this must be subject to the approval of the State legislatures and cannot be unilaterally imposed by the Centre,” the statement added.

Published on June 04, 2020
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