Agricultural Sector and Marketing Reforms – eNAM, Model APMC Act, Eco Survey Reco, etc.

Putting farmers first

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 3- Agri bills related to agri markets and contract farming

The faremers have been protesting against the agri bill. This article explains the rationale behind the bill and how it could help the farmers.

Challenges Indian agriculture face

  • Indian agriculture has been characterised by fragmentation due to small holding sizes, weather dependence, production uncertainties, huge wastage and market unpredictability.
  • This makes agriculture risky and inefficient with respect to both input and output management.

Recent steps to help farmers

  • The  government has taken various steps in this direction, for example-
  • The implementation of the Swaminathan committee’s recommendation regarding fixing MSP at least 50 per cent profits on the cost of production.
  • Increasing the agri budget by more than 11 times in the past 10 years.
  • Establishing e-NAM mandis.
  • An Agriculture Infrastructure Fund of Rs 1 lakh crore under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Package, the scheme for the formation of 10,000 FPOs, etc.

What the agri bills seek to achieve

  • The bills will create an ecosystem where farmers and traders enjoy the freedom of choice of sale and purchase of farming produce.
  • This freedom of choice will help to facilitate remunerative prices to farmers through competitive alternative trading channels.
  • This will promote barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade and commerce of farming produce outside the physical premises of markets notified under state agricultural produce marketing legislation.
  • The farm bills also lay the ground of a legal framework for fair and transparent farming agreements between farmers and sponsors.
  • This framework will facilitate greater certainty in quality and price, adoption of quality and grading standards, linkage of farming agreements with insurance and credit instruments and also enable the farmer to access modern technology and better inputs.
  • These recommendations have been made by the Swaminathan Committee, which suggested the removal of the mandi tax, creation of a single market and facilitating contract farming.

Safeguard in the bill

  • The bill have several safeguards such as the prohibition of sale, lease or mortgage of farmers’ land and farmers’ land is also protected against any recovery.
  • Farming agreements cannot be entered into, if they are in derogation of the rights of a sharecropper.
  • Farmers will have access to flexible prices subject to a guaranteed price in agreements.
  • The sponsor has to ensure the timely acceptance of delivery and payment of produce to farmers and farmers’ liability is limited to only the advance received and cost of inputs provided by the sponsor.
  • Disputes will be resolved through a Conciliation Board, to be constituted by the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), failing which an aggrieved party may approach the concerned SDM for the settlement of the dispute.

Consider the question “What are the changes introduced by the two recent bills passed by the government related to agri markets and contract farming how will these changes be helpful to the farmers?”

Conclusion

These farm bills will bring transformative changes in our agricultural sector and reduce wastage, increase efficiency, unlock value for our farmers and increase farmers’ incomes.

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