The Farmers Produce Trade and commerce Bill, 2020: An Overview

Hello Guys, I think you all may aware of the new farmers bills passed in parliaments without proper discussion and voting and many protests were going on against these bills all over India by the farmers. So In this blog I am going to discuss about Farmers produce Trade and Commerce bill 2020.We shall look in to what Government is trying do? What are the clauses, provisions under this act? Why Farmers opposing the new bill?


*About New Bill: Need and Benefits

*Clauses and Provisions in new bill

*Doubts and difficulties in the bill

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As per the new bill farmers have a freedom to sale and purchase of the commodities from any one and from anywhere in India without any barriers and restrictions. According  to Union Agriculture and farmers welfare  ‘farmers will now have freedom for direct marketing of their produce and will be able to get better prices, MSP procurement system will continue ,consumers will also benefits’.

Need of new bill:

As we knew in India farmers face lot of difficulties in both production and marketing of the produce.Even if farmer get good yield because of difficulties in marketing of the produce they were left with less profits.The traders and the intermediates/commission agents were getting higher profits.To tackle these problems state governments have established APMC market under State APMC act.The APMC were regulated markets and work under rules and regulations.In APMC there will be committees to look at all the matters and to the large extent helped the farmers marketing of produce. Over the year The APMC act and rules lead to the following difficulties:

* There were restrictions for farmers in selling agri-produce outside the notified APMC market yards.

*Farmers were also restricted to sell the produce only to registered licensees of the state governments

*Further barriers existed in free flow of agriculture produce between various states owing to the prevalence of various APMC legislation enacted by the state governments.

Benefits of New bill:

According to the government the farmers will get the following benefits

* The new legislation will create an ecosystem where the farmers and traders will enjoy freedom of choice of sale and purchase of agri-produce

*This will also promote barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade and commerce outside the physical premises of markets notified under state Agricultural Produce Marketing legislation.

* As farmers can sale and purchase the produce anywhere, new act will open more choices for the farmer, reduce the marketing and other costs and help then in getting better prices.

* Farmers of regions with surplus produce now will get better prices and consumers of deficits regions lower prices.

*This bill also propose an electronic trading in transaction platform for ensuring a seamless trade.

*Further farmers will not be charged any cess or levy for sale of their produce under this act.

*There will be a separate dispute resolution mechanism for the farmers under this act.

The government aims at One India, One Agriculture Market: the bill basically aims at creating additional trading opportunities outside the APMC market yards to help the farmers get remunerative prices due to additional competition. According to government this act will certainly pave the way for creating one India, one Agricultural Market and leads to ensuring golden harvests for the farmers.

Clause/Provisions of the Act:

* No market fee or cess or levy, by whatever name called, under any State APMC Act or any other State law, shall be levied on any farmer or trader or electronic trading and transaction platform for trade and commerce in scheduled farmers’ produce in a trade area.

*In case of any dispute arising out of a transaction between the farmer and a trader under section 4, the parties may seek a mutually acceptable solution through conciliation by filing an application to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate who shall refer such dispute to a Conciliation Board to be appointed by him for facilitating the binding settlement of the dispute.

*No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against the Central Government or the State Government, or any officer of the Central Government or the State Government or any other person in respect of anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done under this Act or of any rules or orders made thereunder.

*The provisions of this Act shall have effect, notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any State APMC Act or any other law for time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law for the time being in force.

*If any difficulty arises in giving effect to the provisions of this Act, the Central Government may, by order published in the Official Gazette, make such provisions not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act as may appear to it to be necessary for removing the difficulties.

Doubts/ Protest against the bill:

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We all knew that how these bills were passed in both houses of parliaments. Farmers, Experts and Oppositions were angry on government   over this bill by not considering them in to account while formulating the bill. For some general doubts the government has given the following clarification:

1. Whether procurement at MSP for crop will stop?

Procurement at MSP will continue, farmers can sell their produce at MSP rates.

2. If farm produce is sold outside APMC mandis, these will stop functioning?

Mandis will not stop functioning, trading will continue here as before.

3. What will be the future of government electronic trading portal like e-NAM?

The e –NAM trading system will also continue in the mandis.

* As we knew that APMC markets were regulated markets and established by acts and it’s secure and farmers have faith in APMC, if any dispute arouse APMC committee will resolve the matter .Unlike under this act where disputes should be resolved in front of Sub-Divisional Magistrate. So farmers have to fill the application for dispute resolutions and he has to wait for longer time. The trading companies by using their power may win the case.

* By this law APMC may become weak. Government giving option of free trade outside APMC yard where MNC, private companies may compete with Govt. APMC Where private companies might paly price game with the farmers in long-term.

* Government claiming to improve electronic trading through this acts, but the e-NAM government marketing platform may be weaken by this act. According to one report 30 million farmers have the knowledge of e -trading and mobile based application. As of Aug 2020 around 1crore 68 lakhs farmers have register under e-NAM. So how farmers will have faith in any e-trading platform if the government e-trading platform had these figures.

Government should have focused on the improvement in the APMC acts and strengthen the e-NAM   marketing platform instead of introducing this new bill. The new private e-trading platforms will have adverse effect on e-NAM and the APMC and other government regulated mandis will not be able to compete with private traders in long-term. Even though government is saying that MSP will continue orally but in written form it’s not available .Regarding cess /levy government say it will not be imposed on farmers then who will born that cost?  It’s not cleared by the government.

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