Farms Act 2020: Here’s What You Must Know About the New Agriculture Reforms that the Farmers are Protesting
During the monsoon session of Parliament this year, three agriculture acts – the Essential Commodities Act, Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, and the Farmers Agreement of Price Assurance, Farm Services Act – were given a go-ahead. The bills received the nod of the president on September 27,2020. However, the passing of these bills invited a tremendous amount of criticism by the leaders of the opposition parties and the farmers.
So, what are these acts the farmers have been protesting against? Here are some useful insights.
Act 1: The Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce Act of 2020
Under this act, the farmers will no longer be restricted to physical markets to trade their farming produce. These areas outside the physical markets will fall under the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee laws. As this act comes into force, it will also facilitate trading of agricultural produce inter and intra-state seamlessly. The act has also proposed a platform which will allow trading of agricultural produce to be done online and direct. These platforms can be setup by firms, companies, or even societies. The act also prevents the state governments from charging any fee on the produce of the farmers.
Act 2: The Farmers Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act of 2020
With the reinforcement of this act, the farmers will be able to enter a contract with the buyer directly. The agreement can be made before the sowing season arrives and once the crops are ready, they can be sold at the prices that were pre-determined at the time of signing the contract. Buyers who can enter into an agreement with the farmers can be individuals, societies, groups with limited liabilities, companies, or partnership firms. Under the act, these parties will be referred to as “sponsors”. The agreement will have terms that will be decided mutually between both the parties. The terms of the agreement can include the standards, supply, quality of the produce, and services. The price at which the produce will be bought can also be a part of the agreement. If the prices are subject to any changes, it will be clarified in the agreement. The terms laid down in the agreement will also state the minimum price guaranteed to the farmers by the sponsors. If there are conditions under which the farmer can receive any additional amount, such as a premium or a bonus, those must also be mentioned in the agreement.
Act 3: Essential Commodities Act of 2020
This act revises the Essential Commodities Act of 1955 and puts limitation on the control of the government over the manufacturing, supply, and distribution of some important commodities. According to this act, onion, oilseed, pulses, cereals, potatoes, and edible oils no longer fall in the category of essential commodities. The Essential Commodities of 1955 allows the government to hold the stock and control the price of these essential commodities only when there are exceptional circumstances such as a war, a severe natural calamity, a famine, or an extremely unusual rise in the prices.