A barrier-free trade of the agriculture produce is essential in doubling farmer’s incomes. The farm laws that are taken back were a right step to tackle the bottlenecks. Critically analyze.
While India has 18 percent of the world’s population, it has only 2.4 % of world’s area, only a fraction of which is available for agriculture. Thus, there is excess crowding in agriculture which contributes to 18% of GDP and supports 40% of workforce.
- At the time of independence, the money lenders would usurp the produce of farmers in the guise of past areas; hence, APMC laws were made, which mandated that the first sale must take place at Mandi. Hence, rise of Mandi system took place with interstate restrictions. Thus, farmers could not sell his produce at National level for a better price.
- Also, the contract farming is not allowed freely.
- States not passing APMC reforms and other model acts as suggested by union.
- Essential commodities act, 1955, prevents development of logistics and cold storage facilities and thus hampers development of national market.
How farm laws would have helped:
- APMC reforms – farmers need not sell only at Mandi, he could have decided at which place to sell. But didn’t affect MSP or existing APMC network, as they were kept intact.
- Contract Farming – Farmer could enter into the contracts; price could not be less than market price and land of farmer was not auctionable.
- ECA Amendment – to be used in rare-cases only.
These laws could have changed the picture of Agricultural sector in India. However, they were taken back due to backlash from various farmer organizations. The government needs to bring them back, while creating trust among farmers with the help of discussions with farmer unions.