India, one of the biggest producer and exporter of staples in the world. The agriculture sector is a large extending affair of the individual states in the country, but the central government is highly involved in planning, fund allocation, and implementations.
The Indian government came up with three ordinances that attracted massive protests from farmers across the country, especially in the region of Punjab & Haryana.
The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020, or the FPTC Ordinance. To put an end to the APMC or Agriculture Produce Market Committee Act based on Minimum Support Price or MSP by allowing anyone to sell and buy the products even outside yards/mandi with no restriction of price support or ceiling.
The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020. To legalize contract farming.
The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020. That removes the existing restriction on stocking food produce.
What do these ordinances suggest that feared the farmers to the extent that such protests were required?
Those opposing the bill claim that the latest amendments will encourage hoarding by big farmers. They also fear that the farmers will have to depend on large corporates and private entities as they will be the primary buyers for the products. This will give rise to the most significant terror in the minds of the farmers, i.e., the Minimum Support Price (MSP) will be compromised. If this happens, then the price of the commodities will be totally or in a monopolistic way regulated by large corporate & private firms.
Thus, there are four significant demands of the protesters: to Take back ordinances, Protect the APMC or yards/mandies, Loan Clearances, and Formation of new national law for the regulation of MSP.
On the flip side, the central government suggests that with the help of the ordinance, the reach of farm produce will increase and not be restricted to the yard or mandi or a state; this will produce a free flow of production.
It will also give rise to large ‘organized’ participants by allowing large companies to flow across the agriculture value chain anywhere in the country without interference from the state.
As far as issues of payments are concerned, the ordinance requires that the farmers are to be paid on the same day within a maximum of three days, but how far will it help protect the base price is not absolute.
The majority of critiques believe that the ordinance may help Traders, Foreign direct investors & private corporations, but it is certainly not very good news for Indian Farmers. As far as the agricultural economy of the country is concerned it has to come far to be at par with that of the UK or The US in terms of policies & implementation.