The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 are the farm laws which are the main issue behind farmers’ protest.
The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 seek to facilitate barrier-free trade of farm produce outside the markets notified under the various state Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMC) laws.
The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 define a framework for contract-farming.
The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 removes stock limits on agricultural produce to enable merchants to directly purchase produce from farmers in large quantities in times of bumper harvests.
Pros of the farm laws as per the supporters:
1. Farmers have got a new option; they will have the freedom to sell their produce outside the APMC (agricultural produce market committee) market and there will be no tax on such trade which will give a higher price to the farmers.
2. Farmers can sell their produce within the state or anywhere else in the country and there will be no restriction on this type of trade. This will benefit the farmers that they will be able to sell their produce to the merchant wherever they get a higher price.
3. There will be no need for any kind of license for traders to purchase agricultural produce of farmers in the trade area outside the APMC mandi, but also those holding PAN card or any other document notified by the Central government can join this trade. This will facilitate trade in agricultural products and will benefit the farmers.
4. In case of any dispute arising in such business, the matter will be settled within 30 days by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate.
5. There are also provisions of heavy penalty for violation of rules and regulations.
Cons (as per the opponents)
1. With this law, mandis operated under the APMC law of the states will be abolished. After the end of the APMC mandis, the farmers will be forced to sell the crop to corporate companies at one-and-a-half price.
2. Due to the abolition of the mandi system, there will be no purchase of crops on MSP.
3. Farmers’ products have been going from one state to another in the past and the provisions of the new law are only for the benefit of the corporate and not for the benefit of the farmers.
4.Another concern is the lack of bargaining capability with big companies. The people involved in farming might get the freedom to deal with the biggest of the companies but due to the lack of knowledge, he/ she might not be able to negotiate the best possible terms.
5. Farmers will be exposed to the risk of fraud due to the entry of people without license or registration.
6. In case of any dispute in the business with the corporate buyer, there will be a danger of farmers’ interests being ignored.
7.The new markets are unknown . Thus, while “malpractices” in mandis are known and local leaders (Members of Parliament, Members of the Legislative Assembly, panchayats) are often brought in to vent farmers’ anger or arbitrate in difficult situations, malpractices in the new systems are neither forecast-able nor is there any authority to report to