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BUILD CONSENSUS ON FARM REFORMS

Focus: GS-II Governance

Why in news?

The central government seeks to bring about reforms in India’s farm sector via the three Ordinances.

Click Here to read more about the three ordinances (1st Article)

Criticisms of the Three Ordinances

I- Amendment to ECA

  • While the amendment to the Essential Commodities Act (ECA), removing cereals, pulses, onions, potatoes, oil and oilseeds from its ambit, is welcome, the Centre’s decision to retain the power to reintroduce these items under the Act if prices go up unreasonably would make it difficult for commodity futures to work efficiently.

II- Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance 2020

  • The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance 2020 seeks to free up farm trade across states and within states is very useful as farmers lack marketing freedom because the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Acts of most states compel them to sell to a specified set of traders.
  • However, while inter-state commerce is a subject in the Union list, intra-state trade lies within the ambit of the state government.
  • Since the states stand to lose considerable sums of mandi tax derived from the APMC system, their concerns would have to be addressed.

III- Legal Framework for contract farming

  • Instituting a legal framework for contract farming, via the third Ordinance, is a good idea.
  • However, these contracts are one-sided, with no real recourse for the buyer.
  • Different states call for different kinds of additional inputs, marketing freedom being only a hygiene factor. Supplying these should be a priority, too.

-Source: Economic Times

February 2023
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