Realpolitik involves the fore

Ruchika M Khanna

The Central Government got here up with three farm ordinances final month, claiming that these had been big-ticket reforms that might change the best way our farmers practise agriculture and carry their monetary standing by bringing competitiveness in agri markets.


  • The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance: It permits for regulating provide and inventory restrict of specified agricultural produce beneath circumstances comparable to extraordinary worth rise, pure calamities and so forth.
  • The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance: This permits bypassing of the Agriculture Produce Market Committees, and the sale of the produce to non-public gamers outdoors the mandis.
  • The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance: The least contentious of the three ordinances, it’s designed to create a authorized framework for contract farming in India.

Without initially going into the deserves or demerits of those ordinances and their goals, the contrasting response in BJP-ruled and non-BJP-ruled states was alongside predictable traces. Amid this realpolitik being performed out throughout the nation, the Congress authorities in Punjab is supporting the Left-oriented farmer unions in opposing the ordinances, whereas BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is half-heartedly backing the identical.

The state authorities had itself enacted amendments to the Agricultural Produce Markets Act in 2017, which permits the establishing of personal market yards and likewise has the availability for contract farming. Punjab stands to lose a considerable a part of its earnings from the Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMC) if the ordinances are carried out as these name for the deregulation of personal market yards or exemption from paying taxes. The state expects to earn Rs 1,950 crore this yr by way of APMCs.

Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar says that whilst they really feel that these ordinances are anti-farmer, the federal government is trying into the legality of their implementation because it threatens the federal construction of the nation, with agriculture being a state topic. On the opposite hand, senior vice-president of the SAD, Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, says {that a} hue and cry is being raised by politicians just for the sake of opposing the Centre. “When the setting up of private market yards had already been approved by the state government in 2017, why object to these reforms now?” he asks.

Even as political events proceed to confront one another on this difficulty, farmer unions (14 of them), beneath the aegis of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Committee, have threatened a statewide agitation on July 27. Jagmohan Singh, normal secretary of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda), says that ever for the reason that BJP got here to energy on the Centre, it has achieved little for the farmers. “These ordinances are in line with the party’s policy of withdrawing government support to buying agricultural produce, and ushering in corporatisation of agriculture. We will oppose the ordinances tooth and nail,” he asserts.

Despite public assurances by Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar that none of those ordinances are in any approach a step in direction of withdrawing from the acquisition of foodgrains at an assured worth (MSP), farmers are usually not satisfied. Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan, normal secretary of BKU (Ekta Ugrahan), says leaving the sector open for personal merchants has led to the exploitation of farmers, even when there’s a minimal assist worth. “The government announced MSP of Rs 1,740 per quintal for maize last year. In the absence of government purchase, farmers in Punjab were forced to sell it to private players at Rs 600-800 per quintal,” he says.

Eminent agro economist Sardara Singh Johl has hailed these ordinances as farmer-friendly and futuristic: “The main contention among a section of the farmers, which sadly had been created and fuelled by our politicians for petty political gains, is that the MSP regime will end. There is no word about the regime’s end in any ordinance, nor can any government ever afford to do away with the MSP of grains and jeopardise the country’s food security.”

Balwinder Singh Sidhu, member secretary, Punjab State Farmers and Farm Workers’ Commission, says that in the long term these ordinances will tilt the scales in favour of the personal sector.

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