Niti Aayog member (Agriculture) Ramesh Chand has said that the agitating farmers have not fully or correctly understood the new agricultural laws. He emphasized that these laws have great potential to increase the income of farmers. Chand said that the purpose of these laws is not what the agitating farmers are understanding. The purpose of these laws is quite the opposite.
Farmers’ income will increase
Chand said in an interview to PTI-Language, “The way I see it, I feel that the agitating farmers have not fully or properly understood these laws. He said that if these laws are implemented, there is a high probability that the income of the farmers will increase. In some states, the income of farmers will be doubled. He was asked whether the government still believed that it would be able to double the income of farmers by 2022.
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The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022. On September 27, President Ram Nath Kovind signed three Agriculture Bills, Farmer Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Price Assurance and Agreements Bill on Agricultural Services, 2020 and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was approved.
Large differences between farming and contract farming for corporates
Attempting to address the farmers’ apprehensions about contract or contract farming, Chand said there is a big difference between corporate farming and contract farming. He said, “Corporate farming is not allowed in any state of the country. Contract farming is already taking place in many states. There is not a single instance when the private sector company has taken the land of the farmer. The NITI Aayog member said that the Contract Law on Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Price Assurance and Agricultural Services is tilted in favor of farmers.
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The NITI Aayog member said that the farmers say that the Essential Commodities Act has been removed and stockists, black marketers have been given full exemption. Chand clarified this, saying, “Actually the Essential Commodities Act has been amended. Provision has been made under it when this law will come into force. If the prices of cereals, oilseeds or pulses increase by 50 percent, this law will be implemented.
Essential Commodities Act will work on onion and tomato prices double
Similarly, if onion and tomato prices go up by 100 percent, then this law will be applicable. Giving examples, he said that when onion prices were going up, the Center imposed this law on 23 October. He said it was necessary at that time. States were also asked to impose stock limits. On the growth rate of agriculture sector, Chand said, “In the current financial year 2020-21, the growth rate of agriculture sector will be slightly more than 3.5 percent. In the last financial year 2019-20, the growth rate of agriculture and allied sectors was 3.7 percent. Asked about repeated prohibition on onion exports, Chand said, “The government intervenes whenever the prices go beyond a radius.” This happens not only in India, but also in America and Britain.