Farm legislations: The tussle between farmers, Centre and Opposition

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 18

Every story has two sides however the ongoing farmers’ agitation in opposition to the three agriculture-related legislations has greater than that with farmers, middlemen or ‘arthiyas’, States and the Centre forming the varied aspects. 

Interestingly as agriculture professional Sudhir Panwar factors, sides historically at odds (farmers and arthiyas) are collectively on this one-on-one in opposition to the BJP-led Centre aided by Opposition events, farmers’ organisations and activists.

Perhaps the true challenge is just too technical and the specter of new ecosystem rendering MSP irrelevant extra impacting. The Tribune talked to completely different sides to grasp the dynamics of the evolving agitation within the mild of the contentious legislations which the Narendra Modi authorities calls “pro-farmers and revolutionary” however nonetheless pressured an unprecedented response from its cornered ally, the Akali Dal

This is what BKU General Secretary Yudhvir Singh mentioned after Prime Minister Modi on Friday accused the Opposition, primarily the Congress, of “misleading farmers with disinformation campaign”, “spreading lies” and “supporting middlemen”: “The Prime Minister is trying to suppress realities with these allegations.”

“Farmers’ virodh (opposition) has not occurred for the primary time, we’ve fought a number of battles in opposition to the federal government, together with within the regime of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh,” he mentioned. 

“The Akali Dal (Harsimrat Kaur Badal) was pressured to resign from the federal government, in any other case it might not have been capable of enter Punjab, that is the state of affairs at this time,” mentioned Yudhvir Singh, including that if ‘mandis’ stop to exist so will the MSP. 

This regardless of the federal government’s repeated declare that “MSP will remain now and forever”. “The system of MSP exists in ‘mandi’ and ‘mandi’ is governed by the APMC Act. Yes, farmers are exploited by ‘arthiyas’ but the aim should have been to fix that lacuna in the system,” says the BKU chief.  

“Procurement at the MSP is only for a limited period and farmers who are not able to sell during the period are forced to sell at lower prices to ‘arthiyas’, but the same group will step in case the system changes. The government is acting at the behest of WTO, World Bank and IMF and using Covid-limitations to push in legislations that will destroy farmers,” he mentioned. 

Meanwhile, upset with PM’s try to “eliminate middleman”, ‘arthiyas’ say they’re the “facilitators” and “integral a part of the meals grain procurement community system working for advantage of each farmers and authorities companies.

Ravinder Singh Cheema, president of the Punjab Aarhtia Association, says: “These legislations will ruin the agriculture marketing infrastructure network created in the past five decades. ‘Aarhtias’ work like bridge, take the responsibility of quality and quantity of the government stock up to 45 days in procurement season and protect farmers against officials trying to shortchange them with objections about moisture content, quality of the grain etc.” 

“Big corporations may also buy grain by agent/ distributor,” he mentioned, additionally rejecting the remark that they had been making an attempt to fireside from the shoulders of farmers.

“The movement is led by young educated farmers who know what is right. If the government does not change the decision, the central agency will not be allowed to purchase a single grain from Punjab and Haryana, all movement will be blocked. It is because of strong ‘mandi’ system that Punjab and Haryana farmers are able to get 100% MSP whereas in states like UP, Gujarat and MP they are exploited by officials.”

The BJP, which is accusing the Congress of “deceptive, mendacity and double-speak” on the “revolutionary agri-reform steps that can change the face of the farming sector and state of farmers within the nation” additionally factors to its ballot’ promise in 2019 to repeal the Agricultural Produce Market Committee Act in 2019.

BJP president JP Nadda says: “UPA between 2013-14 de-notified fruits and vegetables from the APMC Act in its states, including Haryana, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Karnataka.”

“The Congress in its 2019 Lok Sabha elections manifesto made it clear it will  repeal the Agricultural Produce Market Committees Act and make trade in agricultural produce, including exports and inter-state trade, free from all,” he mentioned.

“Not simply this the Congress in paragraph 21 said: ‘The Essential Commodities Act 1955, belongs to the age of controls. Congress promises to replace the Act by an enabling law that can be invoked only in the case of emergencies’.” 

Not simply Nadda and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, PM Modi has additionally specified that “MSP in ‘mandis’ and APMC Act  won’t be impacted by the legislations”.  

“Farmers who don’t need to promote in ‘mandis’ can sell outside, it should be their choice.  MSP is limited to ‘mandis’ and accessible for restricted interval. These agri-reforms are devoted to farmers, giving them alternative and freedom to cross obstacles, serving to them enhance produce and funding within the sector,” he says

However, agriculture professional Panwar believes implementation of recent agriculture legislations will likely be tough. There are many causes however most vital is “lack of consultations with stakeholders”.

“Punjab and Haryana will be affected the most because of loss of ‘mandi’ tax, which is a good source of revenue. While ‘arthiyas’ will also lose their commissions and traditional business, farmers are apprehensive about the functioning of new land contract system and agriculture market.”

“What is proposed in the ordinances/legislations appear to have strong biases either towards corporate or uncertainties. Therefore, much depends upon how new system face challenges in the field and evolves,” he says.

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