Farmer organizations have called for the Karnataka Bandh on September 28, 2020. The main reason for this bandh is the two bills passed by the central government in parliament.
1. Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020,
2. the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020
I thought it was my duty as a responsible citizen to understand the pros and cons of these bills and understand them.
The APMC Act was enacted in India in 1963 due to the exploitation of farmers by the Zamindari system. Its primary concern is the welfare of the exploited farmer community. Thereafter, the APMC has been implemented at the district level and taluk level in the states. There are currently 219 APMC in Karnataka.
APMC acts as a link between farmers and traders, but farmers do not know for sure what amount the merchants have purchased, as transparency is the basic intent of the APMC Act but that act didn’t serve its purpose. The APMCs are directly involved in the administration of the state and are also the subject of political pseudonyms.
Intermediaries are required to pay commissions between farmers to purchase agricultural products and sell them to traders. That is why inflation in the market has caused consumers to buy agricultural products at higher prices.
For example, if a consumer buys 1 kg of onion at the market for Rs 70, the farmer who grows it sells 1 kg onion for Rs 7.
The central purpose of the central government bills is to prevent the welfare of the intermediary and welfare of the farmers.
The minimum support price is already in place. The minimum support price does not apply to all crops only for 22 crops. It is unfortunate that the minimum support price is not being sold in the agro product’s market even though the minimum support price is announced by the central government and it is a setback for the farmers.
Karnataka ranks second after Maharashtra in suicides among states, Karnataka is one of the richest states out of 28 states. Yet it is at the forefront of peasant suicide.
In 2015, the Shanthakumara Committee was set up to create a study on farmers’ agricultural products. According to the report, only 6% of farmers sell their crops at the Center’s minimum support price, while the remaining 94% of farmers are deprived of the minimum support price plan.
According to a policy commission report in 2016, an estimated 81% of farmers are unaware of the price of crops, which requires farmers to be aware of the agricultural commodity market.
There is no question of closing the APMCs for any reason, but the participation of non-chartered traders will increase the prices of farmers’ crops and make them more profitable for the farmers. These bills will be enhanced by the goodwill of the farmer by 2022, as the prime minister hopes.
The only difference is that the state collects taxes from APMCs and uses it for the betterment of the state, which will be reduced slightly after these bills become law. But the money that comes in the form of taxes is directly on the farmers.
The agriculture sector is listed on the State List, State List and Paramount List of three of Schedule 7, but in accordance with Article 249 of the Constitution of India, the Center can dominate the State List in the interest of the country and enforce the regulations.
The positives were at the forefront of liberalization, privatization and globalization in 1991, but now it stands as an example for us. Such governance reforms are essential even for the development of peasant life. The enactment of these bills for the development and well-being of the farmers is indeed beneficial but the environment, resources and awareness must be created.