No APMC Monopoly, Freedom For Farmers: All You Need To Know About The New Bills Introduced By The Narendra Modi Government

This ongoing Monsoon season could be a historic one as it could do away with one of the biggest factors which has impeded the growth of agricultural sector in India and the inability of the farmer of find a market and get the best price for his product. The governments of the past enacted the Agricultural Produce Market Regulation Acts (APMC Acts) and this authorised them to set up as well as regulate marketing practices in wholesale markets. 

However, the APMCs has become rather obsolete and it has become inefficient with increasing cartelisation of middlemen as well as ban on private players to enter the trade and this has led to corruption among other things.

Now, the Narendra Modi-government has introduced three bills to promote easier trade for the farm produce and to providea far more competitive market for all the producers outside the existing APMC system.

Also Read: Monsoon Session 2020: Parliament Resumes Business With Modifications, Tweaks And Plenty Of Questions

Understanding the three bills:

Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020:

  • This bill will enable intra-state and inter-state trade of farmers’ produce and it will be beyond the physical premises of APMC markets and hence, it will give them more freedom for the farmers as well as traders to sell or purchase farm products anywhere.
  • It will also prohibit state governments from levying any sort of market fee, cess or levy on farmers as well as traders for trade which is conducted on farmers’ produce which are conducted in an ‘outside trade area’.
  • As per the provision, electronic trading in transaction platform has also been proposed to ensure seamless trade electronically. It will enable private individuals, FPOs and co-ops to set up electronic trading platforms across all these areas.
  • And yes, there will be also be a separate dispute resolution mechanism which will be in place for the farmers

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020:

  • This bill will put into a place a law which will provide a farming agreement between a farmer and a buyer before the production as well as rearing of any farm produce. The minimum period of any such agreement will be one crop season or one production cycle of livestock. 
  • Now, under this proposed bill, farmers will be empowered to directly speak and engage with processors, wholesalers, aggregators, retailers’ exporters among several other people and this will expunge intermediaries which will result in full realisation of the price for the produce of the farm.
  • Under this bill, the price of the farming produce negotiated between the trader and the farmer will always be mentioned and inked in the agreement.
  • Not only this, the buyer will be also be responsible for providing necessary means or inputs for good crop yield. It will also be the responsibility of the buyer to provide agricultural equipment to the farmer.
  • Under this bill, a three-level dispute settlement mechanismis in place. These include the conciliation board, Sub-Divisional Magistrate and Appellate Authority.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020:

  • As per this bill, the Union Government can regulate or prohibit the production, supply, distribution, trade, and commerce of any such essential commodities.
  • This bill will allow the union government to control the supply of certain food items and this include cereals, pulses, potatoes, edible oilseeds, onions. However, this will only happen when there are extraordinary circumstances.  
  • This legislative bill also requires imposition of any stock limit on agricultural produce. These must be based as per price rise.