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Narendra Modi sows agricultural reforms



Pending: Bill 2020 on trade in agricultural products and trade (promotion and facilitation). Farmers can avoid mandis and sell to businesses

Narendra modi

The Narendra Modi government on Tuesday paved the way for big bang reforms in the agriculture sector by securing Lok Sabha approval for the first part of a three-stage legislative model with the passage of a bill aimed at to change the 65 years. Essential Products Act.

Agricultural sector reforms – which will allow the Big Boys of Business to storm the country’s farmlands and take control of the distribution of agricultural products – are designed to break the hegemony of the mandis, usher in contract farming to a large extent catalyze the creation of large cold chain storage facilities and logistics networks and get rid of decades-old storage restrictions designed to ensure a fair pricing system for farmers and retail consumers at the end of a convoluted value chain.

The contours of the reform process were sketched in June, when the Center passed three ordinances which are now expected to obtain the Imprimatur of Parliament through legislative amendments.

But the changes have already sparked an uproar from opposition MPs who fear the system is now being played out to help big businesses rather than farmers who supposedly get a fair price for their produce.

On Wednesday, the Lok Sabha is expected to debate the second bill – the Agricultural Trade and Trade (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill – which aims to give farmers the freedom to bypass the mandi system and sell their crops. produced through alternative commercial channels. that the country’s major distribution channels hope to create.

Later, parliament will also debate a proposal to allow large corporations to set up large contract farms, which many say will threaten the livelihoods of marginal small farmers who each hold less than 2 hectares of land and represent more than 86% of the whole. the country’s farmers.

A fierce debate

The Modi government’s agricultural sector reforms came under attack during the Lok Sabha debate, with several opposition members calling it a thinly disguised plan to favor a few crony capitalists while claiming to create a brave new world for farmers.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 aims to deregulate food products, including pulses and onions.

Saugata Roy and Kalyan Banerjee, of the Trinamul Congress, opposed the bill and accused the Center of removing power from states. “I don’t understand what the rush was to bring in the ordinance,” Roy said and said the legislation would benefit large traders, while farmers would be left out. “This will allow large companies to enter the farmers’ space.”

The opposition invoked the provision that removes the stock limit unless prices reach extraordinary levels.

Participating in the debate, the leader of Shiromani Akali Dal, Sukhbir Singh Badal, an ally of the ruling BJP, spoke of the “apprehensions” and “doubts” of farmers on the bill and on two other bills related to the sector agricultural.

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