Anger of the Farmers over Farm Bills : What has gone so Wrong in it … ?????


In the ongoing monsoon session of the parliament, 3 important bills were passed having direct impact on farmers lives and so of ours. Though the government claims that it is for benefitting the farmers and it will ease out their whole procedure but … it seems that farmers don’t want it at all as we all can see the outrage of farmers protesting so heavily on streets. So … let’s try to understand what is being proposed in these bills.

Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 This bill gives the farmers an option to sell their produce competitively through an inter and intra state mechanism. It is proposed to be done through a barrier free channel unlocking the state constraints. It is said to give more choices at lesser cost to farmers and at the same time also transfer surplus production to areas of need. Basically it empowers farmers to sell produce to literally anyone, even someone at the farm gates. Though ‘Commission Agents’ and state will lose out on Commission Fees and Mandi Fees.

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

Through this bill government tries to provide a framework for farming agreement between farmers and processors, exporters, wholesalers, large retailers, etc. on a level playing field at a mutually agreed remunerative price where risk will be borne by the sponsors not the small farmers. Government claims farmers will get access to modern technology and better advice. Also, private investment will act as a catalyst in building the supply chains without the use of any intermediary.


Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020

This bill seeks to remove cereals, pulses, edible oil, oilseeds, onions, potatoes, etc. from the ‘Essential Commodities’ list. It means there will no longer be a need of a ‘Stock Holding Limit’ except in war and calamities. The bill is said to bring private and foreign investment in food keeping sector, where government already incurs high losses every year and we all see the condition of buffer stocks every year getting rotten and wasted.

Farmers take to the streets over farm Bills - The Hindu

So … Why Are the Farmers Angry … ?????

The main reason why the farmers are angry is a big fear that they won’t be receiving MSP (Minimum Support Price) on their produce. Though government including our prime minister has repeatedly said that ‘MSP will not be scrapped’ and the farmers will have option to either go for MSP or into this NEW method. But the fear amongst farmers is what if we choose the new method and then we are compelled to sell our produce at a rate below MSP due to prevailing conditions.

An End to APMC … ?????

AGRICULTURE PRODUCE MARKET COMMITTEE (APMC) is a government regulated organisation where farmers take their produce, it is scanned and auctioned. After which a price is discovered and paid to Farmers by the Middleman. But the one major benefit is, if the Middleman is not purchasing it or the farmers are not satisfied with it, they can sell it to Government at MSP which is minimum surviving force for the farmers.

But the middleman were not all so clean, they tried to exploit the farmers, hoard the produce and earn big amounts by selling to big corporations. So … with these acts government is basically trying to put the Middleman completely OUT of this procedure and bring an end to this APMC process. Though APMC was an oldguard in Indian Agriculture and it’s scrapping is raising questions on whether it is only for benefiting big industrialists.

Farm Bills and Labour Law Changes: Modi's Big Gamble in the Middle of a  Pandemic

The New Process :

According to the new process the farmers can take their produce directly to the corporations and agree on to a price but the problem here is that in a free market there is no way of knowing what is and what should be the correct price and the farmers are left completely at the mercy of big sellers on what price will they receive as there is no well defined mechanism for ‘Price Discovery’.

Here only, the farmers want a simple ASSURANCE of adding just one more line “No Producer will be able to purchase the produce at a price less than MSP” … just this much will do, but the Government is not in any mood of even replying on this.

See … the core theme of this whole idea is definitely good. All about integrating the markets and bringing an end to exploits of the middleman is something to be appreciated.
The bill also increases the market with the theme of ‘ONE NATION ONE MARKET’ but a big market doesn’t ensure fair prices. When we look at the fact that only 6% of the farmers are able to sell their produce at MSP in India so how can we be so sure that after this ‘Two Option’ model farmers will surely be able to extract at least the MSP.

The Ongoing Politics by the Side

While on one hand farmers have their issues and over 250 farmers organisations are on streets, the reason some states specially PUNAB and HARYANA are also against this bill is because these states have a well defined system of Mandis and the new system will put a big barrier on Mandi Fess which is a big source of their revenue.

But here saying (as Centre is doing) that this is completely a Opposition(Congress) funded program would be Wrong, we can see that the movement is at it’s fullest force in Punjab where there is Congress Government. Also, SIROMANI AKALI DAL (SAD) one of the oldest ally of BJP in Punjab has also stood against this bill against BJP bill (though here they have their personal politics running as well) after union minister HARSIMRAT KAUR resigned from the cabinet.

Here, as being alleged on the government should have arranged proper discussion and debates on these bills in the parliament which it ceased to do. A proper debate would have highlighted the shortcomings and adverse possible impacts. It would have made possible to correct them and avoid what’s been happening today.

Undemocratically Passing of the Bills … ?????

We all saw the scenes from the parliament from the recently concluded Monsoon session. On one hand Opposition was tearing rule book, going on Dharna while Centre was using this opportunity to pass 15 bills in just 2 days. Out of which these farm bills were also a part. It is being alleged that Government didn’t had that much majority to get the bill passed in Rajya Sabha and it was because of this reason that the deputy speaker of Rajya Sabha HARIVANSH NARAYAN SINGH went for Voice Voting (process where majority is decided with the noise in each favor of each side) … a very vague system.

A very significant part of the Rajya Sabha was unsatisfied with voice voting and demanded a proper voting at least the next day if not today which the deputy governor denied which is again ‘Unconstitutional’ as in no condition can the speaker ever deny the demand of a Voting and pass the resolution. So what happened was highly unconstitutional, unethical and shameless that government uses such cheap tactics to pass the bill without any debate or discussion, that too regarding such a crucial issue which is like killing the very essence of democracy.

TMC MP Derek O'Brien tries to rip rule book apart as Rajya Sabha passes  farm bills - India News

Conclusion : A Good and a Flawed Idea

Initially even I thought that the bills are good so much protests are not needed but as I read more about it I saw the harsh reality. The main idea as I also said above is good but implementing it so hurriedly  without discussion and understanding may lead to another GST. GST which was again a good idea, I say it even today but its haphazard implementation ruined it.

So this time I request the Government to not ruin this idea as its really good.
The farmers because of whom we eat, get energy and speak, write and ‘pass bills’ but when they demand something there is almost no one listening to them … what a shame for us. So … I rest my case here and hope that government does looks into, something which they SHOULD do but I know they WON’T do.





References :

  1. Agri Reform Bills: What Will the New System, Which Effectively Bypasses APMC Mandis, Look Like , by Kavitha Kuruganthi https://thewire.in/agriculture/farm-bills-new-system-mandis-monopoly-big-players
  2. Explained: Are New Farm Bills Anti-Farmer? All You Need To Know, by Jyotika Sood https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/india-news-the-farm-bills-and-quandary/360640


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