The Indian farmer constitutes 40 per cent of the country and an even higher percentage of its poor and as the available data points out, is under immense stress. The modernization of the central farm laws is nothing but an adaptation of provisions which already exist in many states, including Punjab and Haryana. How come the three acts become anti-farmer in some states and why not in many others is something the activists themselves cannot explain. Big states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Rajasthan are not even a part of the farmers’ agitation and there is no protest against the central or state government in these states, despite the fact that BJP is not in power in some of these states. More importantly, some agriculturists and several economists have been campaigning for abolishing MSP based procurement as it is unfairly tilted towards a few states like Punjab. The central government has neither abolished the MSP nor does it say anything against it in the laws. If, despite this, the impression is being spread that MSP is to be abolished, this is clearly mischievous. The activists are not only spreading the misinformation about the MSP abolition but they are asking for an unreasonable clause in the law for unlimited MSP based procurement which was never a part of the previous laws related to agriculture and APMC acts.
The Indian farm bills are in line with international precedence wherein a number of developing economies have been making changes to their agriculture policies since the 1990s to encourage private sector involvement which would provide a major fillip to the sector. The International Monetary Fund has also backed the recent farm acts as being an important step in the right direction. Despite all the supportive arguments in the favour of the laws, India has seen unprecedented protest in and around the capital as a result of political vendetta.
Advocate – Supreme Court of India, National Spokes Person – Jannayak Janata Party, Harvard Law School, NLU-Delhi
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