Tuesday, March 9, 2021
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A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

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The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020 along with the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020 were approved by the both houses of the parliament. As soon as the following bills were to be introduced in Rajya Sabha, farmers in the states of Punjab and Haryana started holding protests on a call given by various organizations against the latter. They also burnt the copies of the farm bills to oppose it.

Do those people who are opposing it had read it properly? The answer is no because if they had read it, then they were not wasting their time by protesting and blocking the rail routes. These bills allows the intra-state and inter-state trade of farmers’ produced crops beyond the premises of Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) markets and other markets under the jurisdiction of state APMC Acts. It now permits farmers for trading of their produce in an “outside trade area” like farm gates, factory premises, warehouses, silos, and cold storages.

Earlier, agricultural trade could be conducted only in the Mandis. This act also permits the electronic trading of farmers’ produced crops in the specified trade area. It will facilitate direct and online buying and selling of such produce through electronic devices and internet. It provides for a three level dispute settlement mechanism: the conciliation board, Sub Divisional Magistrate and Appellate Authority. It will also facilitate lucrative prices for the farmers through competitive alternative trading channels to promote barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade of agriculture goods. The act prohibits state governments from levying any market fee on farmers, traders and electronic trading platforms for trading farmers’ produce in an ‘outside trade area. Then what is wrong in it? Some anti-Social elements and some political parties in order to play petty politics are spreading hoax that minimum support price (MSP) will be stopped. In actuality, MSP can never be stopped.

Questions are also being raised on these farm ordinances that this is the first step towards privatization. Through these farm ordinances, the central government is giving options to the farmers so that they can sell their produced crops where they get the right price. These three Ordinances aim to increase the availability of buyers for farmers’ produced crops, by allowing them to trade freely without any type of stock limit, so that an increase in competition among them results in better rates for farmers. Farmers are being misled by some political parties for their political interests. It is not wrong to protest as India is a democratic country but facts must be known before protest. Under the guise of opposing these ordinances, farmers are being made political pawns. Farmers need to understand this. Ordinances do not repeal the existing APMC laws. These anti-social elements are doing mistake by thinking farmers as fools.

Now just need to make farmers aware of the truth. Political parties must rise above their political interests and prevent farmers from being misled because the farmers are backbone of any developing country, they should not be cheated. These bills will benefit the farmers and will double their income. Before opposing, the facts of that matter must be known properly because a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

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