The current session of parliament will be recorded in the history in golden letters for heralding the reforms which are set to revolutionise the agriculture sector and transform the rural economy in the days to come. The passing of two bills crucial to farm sector by the parliament is set to pave the path for doubling of income of the farmers by empowering them with increased bargaining power and freedom to sell their produce to the buyers of their choice. The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion & Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 are the two Bills which will free the farmers to sell their products anywhere in the country and will allow them to engage freely with any agri-business entity. While it will promote inter-state and intra state barrier free trade across India, it will also help farmers in getting remunerative prices and create a modern marketing infrastructure with possibilities of facilitation of food processing, trade and export activities.
In another major boost to the farmers, the parliament has also passed the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 with the provision to remove commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes from the list of essential commodities. Not only it will attract investment in cold storage, warehouses, processing and increase export, it will be a safeguard for the farmers who had to suffer due to lack of proper infrastructure when the production is in surplus. The bill has unchained the possibility of agricultural sector paving the path for modernization and advancement of agri-infrastructure at par with the outside world. It has set the stage for huge leap in the agricultural sector increasing the bargaining power of the farmers and removing the middleman from the process.
Whenever there is a crisis in the country, the ‘Annadatas’ have come forward to ensure the food security of the nation. While the nation is fighting the Covid-19 pandemic with all its resources, the farmers have proved again that they are ready to go an extra mile in helping the nation tide over the crisis. While the sale of fertilizers for the Kharif crops have shown a jump from the last year, so far the sowing area of the Kharif crops has increased by 8.56% more in comparison to corresponding period of last year. The sowing area of rice and oilseeds has also shown significant increase. As the rainfall remains more than normal this year, the harvest of the Kharif crops is expected to give good results. It is highly unfortunate that even when farmers contribute immensely in crisis, little was done in decades of Congress rule to improve their lot. It is for the first time that under the dynamic and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, historic steps are taken to modernise and upgrade agricultural infrastructure in the country by creating provisions in the budget and suitably amending the existing laws to meet the needs of current global scenario.
The Modi government has been committed to take measures which may double the farmers’ income right from the beginning. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has ensured that the hitherto neglected rural economy gets a boost through budgetary allocations and reforms in the system. Never in the past were the farmers, farming sector and rural economy prioritized in the manner in which we saw it happening during the past six years. The launch of Rs. 1 Lakh Crore under Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, PM Matasya Yojana, e-Gopala App, increasing MSP 1.5 times the cost of production, PM Kisan and many more such initiatives may also be seen in the context of doubling the farmers’ income in the country. It is to be noted that Indian farmers are not suffering due to lack of production; the problem mainly lies in the area of post-harvest, management, storage, processing and access to market. The Modi government has been continuously working in these areas through innovative schemes under for last six years which are modernising and upgrading agricultural sector paving the path of an ‘Aatmnirbhar Bharat’.