AGRICULTURAL REFORM BILLS WILL BRING REVOLUTIONARY CHANGES


Shri Rajkumar Chahar

After becoming Prime Minister in 2014, PM Shri Narendra Modi has taken many steps for the welfare of farmers. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi addressed the problem related to urea shortage and enhanced the arability of neem coated urea. This prevented smuggling and black marketing of urea for non-agricultural use and ensured regular availability of urea to farmers throughout the country.

After this, Prime Minister Shri NarendraModi launched several schemes to double the income of farmers. The recommendations of the Dr. Swaminathan Commission has been considered, and PM announced to give one and a half times more minimum support price or MSP to farmers. Apart from this, a huge program of soil testing was conducted in a mission mode throughout the country and soil health report and other information’s were recorded. The Modi government started the Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana to increase the income of farmers and ensured that every farmer was sent Rs. 6000 annually to his bank account.

This year, the government took several steps to ensure that farmers’ income is not affected due to Corona epidemic. Many exceptions were given to the Farmers from lockdown restrictions. After all these measures, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi introduced three agricultural reform bills to bring about a paradigm shift in the agriculture sector and got them passed by Parliament. The effect of these three laws – The Agricultural Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Simplification) Bill 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020, will be far reaching in future.

The opposition made several attempts to mislead farmers as soon as the agricultural bills were passed. But the farmers were not ready to be seduced by the opposition in view of the policies of all the governments so far. As soon as the procurement of paddy on MSP started in Haryana and Punjab, the opposition’s exhaustive claim that Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s government would abolish the minimum support price through these three laws. Whereas the Modi government is making more purchases on MSP than last year. Despite Corona’s multiple lockdown, government agencies have procured 389.85 lakh tonnes of wheat from farmers at MSP in the last Rabi season, which is a record. Similarly, the procurement of paddy saw an increase of about 80 percent in 2019-20 compared to 2014-15.

Prime Minister Shri Modi dismissed all the claims of the opposition by saying that those who failed to give the right remunerative price to the farmers, are now spreading rumors. Small and marginal farmers will get the most benefit through these bills. For decades after independence, many slogans were raised in the name of farmers, but they were not given any special benefit and now people with vested interest and selfish elements are spreading rumors in the name of farmers.

The most benefited from the new agrarian reform legislators will be those farmers who live in remote and hilly areas. The new agricultural acts are new revolution for the farming community. Earlier farmers could sell their crop only through a few middlemen. But now they can sell their crop anytime and anywhere, apart from this they can make an advance agreement of their crop with anyone.

Earlier government agencies used to buy produce from farmers but there was a lot of delay in payments. Farmers did not know when their prices would be released. But the Agriculture Bill implemented by the Modi government, farmers have been guaranteed immediate payment of their produce. For this it has been clearly stated that only under special circumstances, a maximum of 3 days of delay is allowed, otherwise the government is giving guarantee to farmers to ensure payment of their crop immediately.

Farmers were selling their crops in the mandis on a very less price, but now they will have the freedom to sell their crops anywhere outside the market. The opposition is unnecessarily trying to mislead farmers in which it will never succeed. Anyway, there is a lot of tax burden in some mandis. For example, Punjab has imposed a maximum tax of 8.5 per cent on various crops, which falls heavily on farmers. Apart from this, they also have to pay huge price to bring their crops to the mandi.

If the farmer makes a contract with someone or if they find a buyer near their house, then they will get rid of all these things. Small farmers do not get the benefit of government MSP. And 86% of the farmers in the country have came under this bracket. So now they will get the benefit of these laws and will also be able to sell their crop anywhere.

The contract farming will not cause any harm to the farmers as contract held under this law will be only for the crop and not for the land. Therefore, the opposition which is spreading the rumor that the big companies will grab the land from the farmers is pointless. The farmer was, and will remain, the owner of his land. If there is an agreement between the farmer and any of the company held on the value of the crop and at the time of procurement the prices increase on the same, then the farmer will also get the benefit.

The selfish elements are trying to spread confusion among the farmers on new reform only for their political gains and trying to provoke them. They are trying to gain election mileage through this. They are spreading rumors on the issues which are not part of new legislators.

While releasing a special commemorative coin on the 75th anniversary of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi said that when the whole world was facing a crisis due to Corona outbreak, the farmers of India, with their hard work and dedication, shattered all the previous records of agricultural production. And the government has also broken all the previous records in terms of procurement off arm produce on MSP by increasing it to all time high.

Prime Minister Shri Modi made it clear that government procurement on MSP is an important part of the food security of the country, it is a natural thing and it will continued. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s government is making many efforts very seriously to increase the income of farmers. For this, operation of many special farmer trains have been started. The first farmer rail was run from Devlali (Nashik-Maharashtra) to Danapur (Patna-Bihar). After the popularity of this train, it was extended to Muzaffarpur and it is also being operated twice a week. Apart from this, the link coach service from Sangli and Pune have also started on the demand of farmers. The second Kisan Rail runs from Anantapur (Andhra Pradesh) to Adarsh Nagar (Delhi). This is a weekly train. The third farmer train is running between Bengaluru to Hazrat Nizamuddin.

Through these special trains, farmers can send their crops anywhere in the country. Now, going a step ahead on this, Prime Minister Shri Modi’s government has decided to give 50% subsidy on freight to farmers in these trains. This subsidy will be provided directly to farmers under the Operation Greens ‘Top to Total Scheme’ by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries. For this, an agreement has been signed between the Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Food Processing Industries and this scheme has come into effect from 14 October.

The impact of all these steps taken by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s government is also visible. These steps resulted not only in increase of agricultural production but when the exports of all industrial products were declining during the Corona outbreak, the agricultural commodities export increased by about 43.4%. During April-September 2020, exports of agricultural commodities grew by 43.4%. In which exports of groundnut, sugar, wheat, basmati rice and non-basmati rice have increased the most.

The government had announced the Agricultural Export Policy-2018 to boost agricultural exports. The scheme emphasizes on export-focused cultivation of cash crops such as fruits, vegetables and spices. For this, efforts are being made to constitute special agricultural groups and these specific export products are encouraged. The Modi government has initiated several programs based on the entire production chain for agricultural exporters and established 8 Export Promotion Forums (EPFs). The result of which is now visible.

                       (The writer is National President of BJP Kisan Morcha)