Mixed response

Sushil Manav

The three ordinances on agriculture introduced in by the Centre have evoked a blended response in Haryana, with farmers’ organisations opposing the transfer, the ruling social gathering hailing it as a landmark resolution to profit farmers, and the Opposition terming it a double-edged sword.

“The ordinances are against the interests of farmers and are aimed at bringing agriculture into the hands of corporates and capitalists. Increasing the stock limit of farm produce will also lead to hoarding by big businessmen and this will ruin the farmers,” says Gurnam Singh Charuni, state president of Bhartiya Kisan Union who has given a name for protests throughout the state on this concern on July 20.

Gurjeet Singh Mann, a progressive farmer from Sirsa, says, “We farmers are apprehensive that with these ordinances, the government wants to do away with the APMC system which has helped and is helping farmers, especially of the grain-abundant states of Haryana and Punjab. It also appears that the government wants to shed the burden of MSP, in the garb of free markets, and form FPOs (farmer producer organisations) which are way too complicated and need a lot of capital for efficient running.”

Mann says that as a farmer, he welcomes the reforms, however the ambiguity within the ordinances is a trigger for concern. “The very fact that these are ordinances, not Bills, makes them look suspicious, as it means that they bypass the interests of individual states and the needs of farmers of each state. The Essential Commodities Act was practically non-existent and most of its restrictions were already gone; at the same time, states such as Haryana are working against the spirit of this ordinance by imposing restrictive policies such as Meri Fasal Mera Byora, Mera Pani Meri Virasat etc., which curtail the freedom of the farmers on what to grow and where to sell,” Mann provides.

Former Chief Minister and Leader of the Opposition within the Assembly Bhupinder Singh Hooda says farmers from Haryana and Punjab are going to be the losers due to these ordinances. “However, there are provisions like contract farming which will benefit the farmers,” he provides.

Haryana Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister JP Dalal, nonetheless, has welcomed the ordinances, saying that these will promote barrier-free inter-state and intra-state commerce in agricultural produce and pave the best way for creating ‘One India, One Agriculture Market’, enabling farmers to promote their produce wherever within the nation.

“The ruling NDA led is the first government which has implemented a formula for fixing the minimum support price (MSP) of crops every year, and the MSP is announced before the sowing season starts, thus helping the farmers decide in advance regarding sowing of their crops as per the prices,” Dalal claims, including that the ordinances, too, have been aimed toward bettering the farmers’ lot within the state. The minister says that whereas the ordinances would guarantee useful costs for the farmers’ produce, their earnings would additionally enhance.

“Achieving PM Narendra Modi’s target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022 is Haryana’s priority,” he provides.

Dalal claims that Haryana is swiftly shifting in the direction of the peri-urban idea, whereas it’s also working to satisfy the every day demand of merchandise, together with milk, fruits, greens, flowers and poultry required for about 5 crore inhabitants residing within the National Capital Region.

The minister says that farmers’ pursuits are the topmost precedence for the Central and state governments.

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