Information regarding the recent path-breaking Farm Laws in India

Dear Editor,
Please find below some information which gives details & provides clarifications to assuage the concerns of your readers with regard to the recent path-breaking Farm Laws in India, against which a small section of India’s farming community has been protesting.
1: The Acts are intended to provide a legal framework for efficient, transparent, and barrier-free, inter-state and intra-state trade of farmers’ produce on an all-India basis outside the physical premises of state-regulated Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) markets and markets notified under state legislation. The framework would facilitate selling by farmers, including through electronic trading platforms, for remunerative prices.
2: The farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 is intended to provide national framework on farming agreements, and protects and empowers farmers to engage with agri-business firms, processors, exporters, or large retailers for farm services and sale of future farming produce at a mutually agreed remunerative price framework in a fair and transparent manner, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
Similarly, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act is intended to create demand in agri-supply chain, encourage investment in value chain, storage facilities, and other marketing infrastructure development, thus facilitating rural development and rural employment.
3: The Government of India has been actively and intensively engaging with the states for about two decades, to achieve the market reforms in order to provide an accessible and barrier-free market system for better price realisation.
4: Various committees, including the former Planning Commission (now NITI Aayog), have been advocating for liberalisation of APMC ecosystem, to promote barrier free trade by farmers. Promotion of Model APMC Act, 2003, Model Agriculture Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2017 (APLM Act), and Model Contract Farming Act, 2018 were in this direction.
5: During the COVID-19 lockdown, there was an urgent need to allow free, direct marketing outside the mandis, in order to not only facilitate the farmers in selling their produce near to farm gate at remunerative prices, but also to decongest the mandis. There has been a long-felt need to provide barrier-free trade to facilitate farmers in providing liberalised eco-system in selling their produce at better prices anywhere and at any time. The COVID-19 situation of demand suppression and logistics and supply chain breakdown only accentuated the need to liberalise the ecosystem.
6: Addressing joint sitting of the two houses of Parliament on 29 January, 2021, His Excellency the President of India mentioned that benefits of these three important farm reforms had already begun to accrue to more than 100 million small farmers from the word ‘go’. Appreciating the advantages that these reforms would bring to the small farmers, several political parties too had, from time to time, expressed their support. The discussions over these farm reforms in every part of the country for over two decades, and the demand for these reforms at different fora were also reflected during the deliberations in the Parliament.

Vijayakumar K
Counsellor (Com &
Dev Projects)
High Commission of