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Amendment Proposals by the centre on issues raised by farm unions:

Uniform policy of taxes, fee, and cess:

The farmers unions have objected to creation of private markets along with agriculture produce Market Committees (APMC). It will lead all agriculture businesses towards private markets. The result will be the end of government markets and intermediary (commission agent) systems as well as APMC systems.

After that only big traders and giant companies will operate in the markets and procure farm produce at incidental prices. The government has proposed that there will be uniform policy of taxes, fee, and cess both for government and private markets.  But the governments would deliberately delay procurement as in case of paddy and turn the public markets inefficient and redundant. Indian and foreigner corporate sectors are hell bent to destroy APMC, distribution system and subsidies in India, though the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Peasant organisations are not only apprehensive but fully convinced that the new agricultural acts are brought to dismantle APMC. Therefore, they are demanding that the union government should employ a comprehensive act of MSP for the whole country and for all crops. But the government is dragging its feet to bring legislation on this issue and only talking for a written assurance. The farmers’ organisations have rejected the government proposal of written assurance and insisted on repeal of these anti-farmers acts.

No provision in the new acts to regulate the traders:

There is no provision in the new acts to regulate the traders. These acts give permission to any PAN Cardholder to procure grains from the markets at wishful prices and make hoarding. There is a general phenomenon of cheating and embezzlement in a capitalist country like India. Instead of making provisions of registration to regulate the traders, the central government is trying to pass the buck on the state governments to regulate the traders. Hence it is not ready to take any responsibility on this issue. This is also being proposed under the pressures of farmer organizations.

The farmers organizations are apprehensive of grabbing the farmers land by the large corporations under the contract farming. The Union Government has put a proposal to allay the fears of farmers by saying that there will be no sale, lease, and transfer of land during the period of contracts agreement. But the history of contract farming has many examples of nonpayment by the companies making various excuses.

Contract farming has displaced farmers all over the world:

It has happened in the case of sugarcane where payments were held for many years or cases of non procurement making excuses of poor quality. It has pushed the farmers into a debt trap. In such cases farmers are unable to repay the loans and have no option other than to lose their lands. The contract farming has resulted in displacing and destroying the farmers all over the world. Even in the U S A, where huge subsidies are given for the agriculture sector the farmers are forced to commit suicides.

Intent to discontinue power subsidies to the farmers:

In the proposed power bill-2020 the Modi Government wants to control the power sector by taking it from the jurisdiction of states. It wants to discontinue the subsidies to the farmers. The WTO has given repeated instruction to Indian Government to discontinue the subsidies. Therefore the Modi government wants to bring the power sector under the Central control. The farmers are opposing this move. Under the pressure of farmer organizations, the government is proposing to exclude subsidies from this bill and saying that power subsidy will be transferred to farmers in cash.

The union government thinks that stubble burning of paddy is responsible for pollution in Delhi and enacted legislation of stringent punishments and heavy fines for the alleged violators. Now under the pressure of farmer organizations the government is proposing for amendments but the farmer organizations are determined to continue the united struggle till the repeal of these acts.

About the author:
Jagmohan Singh Patiala

Jagmohan Singh Patiala The writer, of the article Jagmohan Singh Patiala is General Secretary of Bharti Kisan Union (Dakaunda).

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