Why farmers are protesting against new bills?

After the economic and pandemic disaster, the government is now ignoring the farmers’ interest with three new bills introduced in the parliament

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NH Web Desk

After the economic and pandemic disaster, the government is now ignoring the farmers' interest with three new bills introduced in the parliament. Union minister Harsimrat Badal resigned from the cabinet over the issue , the dispute shows that farmers are not the priority for the government.

Farmers in Punjab and Haryana have been protesting against three ordinances promulgated by the Centre on June 5.

After the Monsoon Session of Parliament began this week, the government has introduced three Bills to replace these ordinances. Lok Sabha passed these bills this week. On Thursday, SAD leader Sukhbir Badal announced in Lok Sabha that Harsimrat Badal, the Union minister for Food Processing Industries from his party, will resign in protest over these bills.

They are called The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020. Farm Services Ordinance, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020.While farmers are protesting against all three ordinances, their objections are mostly against the provisions of the first. And while there is no uniform demand among the protesters or a unified leadership, it emerges that their concerns are mainly about sections relating to “trade area”, “trader”, “dispute resolution” and “market fee” in the first ordinance. A look at these sections, one by one:

Section 2(m) of The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020 defines “trade area” as any area or location, place of production, collection and aggregation including (a) farm gates; (b) factory premises; (c) warehouses; (d) silos; (e) cold storages; or (f) any other structures or places, from where trade of farmers’ produce may be undertaken in the territory of India.

In effect, existing mandis established under APMC Acts have been excluded from the definition of trade area under the new legislation. The protesters say this provision will confine APMC mandis to their physical boundaries and give a free hand to big corporate buyers.

The protesters say that the provision on dispute resolution under Section 8 does not sufficiently safeguard farmers’ interests.

Farmers fear the proposed system of conciliation can be misused against them. They say the ordinance does not allow farmers to approach a civil court.

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