This is part of supplementary information being provided to the Press today at 12 noon IST, 21 March 2022, to accompany the release of the Report of the Supreme Court Committee on Farm Laws.
Majority of the farmers and other stakeholders support Farm Laws.
Policies need to adapt to the dynamic requirements of the agricultural sector access to best technologies and expanding markets.
Farmers can get remunerative prices for their produce only if agricultural markets function efficiently and the farmers are enabled to move up the value chain of storage/ exports/ retail.
The Acts intend to develop competitive agricultural markets, reduce transaction cost, and increase the famers share in the realised price of an agri-produce.
However, certain modifications and supportive supplementary steps can further support these.
- A repeal or a long suspension of these laws would be unfair to the silent majority who support the Farm Laws.
- States may be allowed some flexibility in implementation and design of the laws, with the prior approval of the Centre.
- Alternative mechanisms for dispute settlement, via Civil courts or arbitration mechanism such as farmer courts may be provided to the stakeholders.
- Strengthen agricultural infrastructure through cooperatives and Farmer Producer organisations (FPOs).
- An agriculture marketing council with all states and UTs as members may be formed for implementation of these acts.
Recommendation regarding farmers produce trade and commerce ( promotion and facilitation) Act 2020
- Development of price information ad market intelligence system to facilitate efficient ‘price discovery’ and strengthen the bargaining power of the farmers.
- Terms of reference of CACP can be expanded to collate, analyse and disseminate price information.
- Convert existing APMCs to revenue generating entities by making them hubs of agri-business.
- A list of additional documents, as alternative to PAN number, may be notified by the central.
Recommendations related to Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on price assurance and farm services Act, 2020
- A model contract agreement should be formulated and shared on the website with all stakeholders to remove various glitches in implementation.
- A major communication exercise needs to be undertaken to clear apprehension the land of farmers would be usurped under this Act.
- To lend security to the contract for both parties, the contract agreement should be signed by two witness from farmer’s as well as contractors side.
- Provision in the farming agreement should be made in case market prices increase than the contracted prices.
Recommendations related to essential commodities (Amendment) Act (ECA), 2020
- Consider completely abolishing the ECA Act, 1995.
- The price triggers, at 100% for perishables and 50% non perishables in the Act may be reviewed and enhanced to 200% and 75% respectively.
- Quantity of stock limits, if imposed, should be reviewed on fortnightly basis.
- The reference period for price rise may be reduced to last 3 years.
- Export bans need to be rationalised and should be imposed in an objective manner based on similar price triggers as envisaged in this Act.
- Recommendations related to agricultural price policies
- Open ended procurement policy needs to be discontinued as it is distorting the composition of agricultural output in certain states with its adjunct environmental consequences.
- Supports the approach of NFAED in carrying out procurement operations in pulses and oilseeds under the Price support scheme.
- Procurement of crops at a declared MSP can be the prerogative of the States as per their specific agricultural policy priorities. These states can provide for a legal backing for such procurements at their own cost- as the recent Punjab amendment Act.