Govt should have cleared stakeholder doubts on farm Bills: Experts

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 20, 2020 Published on September 20, 2020

The two farm Bills passed by the Rajya Sabha — The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill — would help remove regulatory impediments and enable agriculture to realise its full potential, but there is a need to remove doubts and concerns expressed by stakeholders, said Siraj Chaudhry, MD and CEO of National Collateral Management Services Limited (NCML) said.

“I feel that the Bills are in the right direction for the progress of farmers and Indian agriculture and food economy.We need private sector investments in technology and infrastructure upgradation for Indian agriculture to realise its full potential, integrate and compete better in the global marketplace,” said Chaudhry.

He said it is to be seen in the days ahead how the market forces play out and whether the farmer is able to actually benefit from the changes as envisaged by these Bills.

However, Chaudhary agreed that it would be would be prudent that the views of the States, the farmer organisations and other participants in the agri value chain are taken on board and aligned.

“This is a major policy change that impacts a large and vulnerable section of the population, there are a number of unknowns which can be put to rest only after all stakeholders have experienced the outcomes of this change, therefore it is important for all to tread with patience, trust and a willingness to course correct as needed based on real experiences,’’ the NCML CEO said.

MSP concerns

The All India Kisan Sangarsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), an umbrella organisation of over 200 farmer groups in the country, criticised the government move saying these Bills along with the Essential Commodities Amendment Bill will completely stop government procurement.

Even though the government reiterated that the minimum support prices will remain, the AIKSCC felt that the Bills are first step in the direction of implementing the Shanta Kumar Committee recommendations. The Committee, constituted by the previous NDA government, had stated that only 6 per cent of the Indian farmers enjoy the benefits of MSP and hence it should wound up. It had also called for stopping of procurement by Food Corporation of India and NAFED and also food-grain supply under the public distribution system, AIKSCC alleged.

Farmer groups have called for an all-India bandh on September 25 to protest against the Bills.

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Published on September 20, 2020
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