PM wishes farmers on passage of farm bills in Parliament
21 September 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday wished farmers on the passage of farm bills in Parliament, which he said, will free them from the constraints of market and the stranglehold of middlemen who take away all the profit, and called it a watershed moment in the history of Indian agriculture.
In a series of tweets, the prime minister said, "A watershed moment in the history of Indian agriculture! Congratulations to our hardworking farmers on the passage of key bills in Parliament, which will ensure a complete transformation of the agriculture sector as well as empower millions of farmers.
“For decades, the Indian farmer was bound by various constraints and bullied by middlemen. The bills passed by Parliament liberate the farmers from such adversities. These bills will add impetus to the efforts to double income of farmers and ensure greater prosperity for them.
He said the passage of the bill will give the hardworking farmers easier access to latest farming technology – both pre-harvest and post-harvest, which is urgently needed for the agriculture sector.
But he said, the system of government procurement at minimum support price (MSP) will continue. “We will do everything possible to support farmers and ensure a better life for their coming generations,” he said.
Parliament passes The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.
Modi was addressing farmers after the Parliament passed two bills aimed at transforming agriculture in the country and raising farmers’ incomes. The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 which were passed by Lok Sabha on 17 September 2020, were passed by the Rajya Sabha today.
The bills, introduced in the Lok Sabha on 14 September 2020 by minister for agriculture and farmers’ welfare, rural development ad panchayati raj, Narendra Singh Tomar, will replace ordinances promulgated on 5 June 2020.
Speaking about the bills, Tomar said this is the latest decision taken by the government in the last six years to ensure that farmers get remunerative prices for their produce, and for raising farmers’ incomes and livelihood status.
He once again clarified that the procurement at Minimum Support Price (MSP) will continue. This has been assured by the prime minister, he said. MSP has been increased considerably during 2014-2020 and MSP for coming Rabi season will be announced in coming week, he added.
The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 aims at creating an ecosystem where the farmers and traders will enjoy freedom of choice of sale and purchase of agri-produce.
It will also promote barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade and commerce outside the physical premises of markets notified under State Agricultural Produce Marketing legislations.
The farmers will not be charged any cess or levy for sale of their produce and will not have to bear transport costs.
The bill also proposes an electronic trading in transaction platform for ensuring a seamless trade electronically.
In addition to mandis, freedom to do trading at farmgate, cold storage, warehouse, processing units etc.
Farmers will be able to engage in direct marketing thereby eliminating intermediaries resulting in full realisation of price.
Sale of farm produce outside APMC mandis will not stop functioning of the mandis nor will the government electronic trading portal like e-NAM.
MSP for Rabi season will be announced next week and farmers can sell at that price or a higher price. The government is only trying to give farmers another option of better price realisation, the minister pointed out.
The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 aims at empowering farmers for engaging with processors, wholesalers, aggregators, wholesalers, large retailers, exporters etc, on a level playing field.
Farmers can engage in a sort of contract farming with price assurance even before sowing of crops. In case of higher market price, farmers will be entitled to this price over and above the minimum price.
· It will transfer the risk of market unpredictability from the farmer to the sponsor. Due to prior price determination, farmers will be shielded from the rise and fall of market prices.
· It will also enable the farmer to access modern technology, better seed and other inputs.
· It will reduce cost of marketing and improve income of farmers.
· Effective dispute resolution mechanism has been provided for with clear time lines for redressal. There will be local dispute redressal mechanism, without going for court litigation.
· Impetus to research and new technology in agriculture sector.
Under contract farming, the farmer will have full power in the contract to fix a sale price of his choice for the produce. They will receive payment within maximum 3 days. Contract farming only comes as an option for farmers.
The government is supporting the setting up of 10,000 Farmer Producer Organisations throughout the country. These FPOs will bring together small farmers and work to ensure remunerative pricing for farm produce.
After signing contract, farmer will not have to seek out traders. The purchasing consumer will pick up the produce directly from the farm.