Punjab Farmer With Wheat Crop
OPINION
OPINION

Making Sense Of Central Farm Laws

Punjab Farmer With Wheat Crop

What are the three bills that have been enacted?

a.)   The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation), b.) The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and c.) The Farm Services and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act

What do they propose to change?

The government says the new Acts are meant to boost the farm sector. Although more than 60% of the Indian population works in the agriculture sector (even more if those who depend indirectly on the sector are included), the farm sector’s contribution to GDP is just around 18%. The government believes the changes in farm laws will lead to private sector investments in the sector in building infrastructure and supply chains for farm produce to be distributed more efficiently through both domestically and for exports.

The government believes small farmers who cannot bargain for better prices for their produce and have no means to invest in technology will be helped by the new laws. And that they will help farmers to sell their produce outside the mandis that are regulated by the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC). That means farmers will have access to buyers who could pay higher prices.

Why are there protests against the new laws?

The protests by farmers, in Punjab and other states, is driven by fears that the government is using the laws to benefit private sector firms, including big corporations, which they feel could subvert the interests of the farmers by squeezing them on prices and, thereby, enforce control over farmers’ land, crop mixes, and, most of all, prices.

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