Farmers protest, Farm bill, Lok Sabha, what are new farm bills
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Farmers protest against the central government, in New Delhi.

The Lok Sabha (Lower House) on Thursday passed the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 as well as the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 in the Lok Sabha. Both the bills were introduced in the Lok Sabha on day one of the Monsoon session (September 14, Monday). The bill will replace the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020 promulgated by the President on June 5 this year. 

What is Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020?

  • In the new ecosystem, farmers and traders as per the government will enjoy the freedom of choice relating to sale and purchase of their produce.
  • It will facilitate remunerative prices through competitive alternative trading channels to promote efficient, transparent and barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade and commerce.
  • The farmers’ produce will go outside the physical premises of the markets or deemed markets notified under various state agricultural produce market legislations to provide a facilitative framework for electronic trading.

What is Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020?

  • Through the bill, the Agriculture Minister aims at providing a national framework on farming agreements that protects and empowers farmers to engage with agri-business firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters or large retailers.
  • This move targets farm services and sale of future farming produce at a mutually agreed remunerative price framework in a fair and transparent manner.

How these Bills will benefit farmers?

  • Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday clarified that these Bills will bring revolutionary changes in the lives of farmers. He asserted “MSP was, MSP is, and MSP will continue in the future”.
  • Tomar said both the bills will fulfil the expectations and the need of the country from agriculture. 
  • The farmer will get attracted towards comparatively good crops, and if the farmer produces costly crops his income will automatically increase and he will also support agriculture growth.
  • “These Bills will also help in agriculture export.” Tomar said around 86 per cent are small farmers. “If these farmers manage to know the fixed price of their produce in advance through any law they will be able to do profit farming.”
  • The Minister asserted that “these bills will not affect the Minimum Support Price (MSP)” and that these will help in making the farmers more advanced. “MSP was, MSP is, and MSP will continue in the future.”
  • Through these reforms, farmers will connect directly with the big traders and exporters, bringing profit to agriculture. “These bills will bring revolutionary changes in the lives of farmers.”
  • Tomar added these bill will bring freedom in the field of agriculture.
  • The Agriculture Minister clarified that these bills do not affect the State APMC Act. “APMC will be in the state but there will be inter-state trade outside its periphery and the farmers will be able to sell their produce from their field, home and any place after the legislation comes into existence.”

However, there is an outcry on the introduction and passage of these bills in the Lok Sabha. Also many farmers are claiming that the ordinances were not only against the interest of the farmers but were also against the Constitution.

Congress, and many other parties have opposed the bill. NDA alliance partner Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has also opposed the bill with its leader and Union Minister in the Narendra Modi government, Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigning from her post, while protesting against the bill. Though SAD said that it will continue to support the Modi government but won’t support the bill.

Earlier, thousands of farmers in Haryana had also protested against these bills.

ALSO READHarsimrat Kaur Badal quits Union Cabinet in protest against farm Bills, says ‘proud to stand with farmers’

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