Are the Farm Bills Really Pro-Farmers?
The Farm Bills have been under severe criticism from the opposition parties and many farmers. A look at whether the new bills actually benefit the farmers
In an exclusive interview with a leading channel, senior journalist and rural expert P. Sainath analysed the controversial Farm Bill, two out of three of which have been passed in the Parliament by the centre. The three bills are the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill.
Stating that this move has been in process since 1991 and not appeared out of the blue, Sainath contested the claims of farmers’ economic liberation with the new to-be law. He said that the Agricultural Produce and Livestock Market Committee (APMC) is not accessible to most farmers, who anyway use other middlemen and agencies to sell their produce.
The senior journalist advocated a monthly salary of 7000 rupees for small and marginal farmers as relief during the pandemic. Second, he said the focus should be on producing food crops more than cash crops. He further added that agricultural laws in the country need a complete transformation.
He quoted examples of large economies like Ireland and Spain who nationalised their health sector in the first week of the COVID19 storm, while in India, state governments had to plead with private hospitals of beds. Drawing a parallel with this, he said that corporatizing the farming sector will lead to its eventual doom.
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