In January, govt’s farm law stand in SC: Held consultations, repeal unacceptable, most farmers in favour

While arguing in opposition to petitions difficult the 3 farms regulations, the federal government had instructed the Supreme Court in January that their enactment was once preceded by way of “two decades of deliberations” and termed calls for for his or her repeal as “neither justifiable nor acceptable”.

In a sworn statement filed by way of the Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, the federal government sought to dispel what it referred to as “the erroneous notion… peddled” by way of protesters that the federal government and Parliament didn’t grasp consultations ahead of passing the regulations.

It additionally argued that states have been tardy in enforcing the reforms of their “true spirit”.

The affidavit underlined “serious, sincere and constructive efforts” made by way of the federal government to have interaction with “the limited number” of farmers protesting the regulations. It mentioned the agitation was once restricted to just one position and that this confirmed {that a} majority of the farmers discovered the regulation “in their interest”.

The govt argued that there was once a necessity for adjustments in state advertising and marketing regulations as those hindered agricultural industry in addition to provision of felony beef up to farmers to grasp remunerative costs.

In its affidavit, the federal government had described intimately its engagement with states during the last 20 years to start up farm sector reforms.

It mentioned “states either showed reluctance to adopt the reforms in true spirit or made partial or cosmetic reforms”.

It mentioned an Expert Committee set as much as overview the rural advertising and marketing device had in a June 2001 record urged more than a few legislative reforms.

Following this, the Centre mentioned, an inter-ministerial activity pressure record of June 2002 had additionally really helpful “several legislative reforms in the State APMC Acts and the Essential Commodities Act to remove restrictive provisions impeding development of an efficient and competitive marketing system, for promotion of direct marketing, for encouraging contract farming and for rationalisation of market fee/tax structure”.

It was once after the acceptance of this record that the Agriculture Ministry formulated the Model APMC Act, 2003, and Rules, 2007, in session with states, the Centre mentioned. When it was once spotted that their adoption by way of states and Union territories “was of varied degree and slow”, in 2010, an Empowered Committee of 10 state ministers was once shaped to “persuade” the states to put in force the Act and regulations, in addition to to signify additional reforms.

This committee submitted its record in 2013, searching for steps for getting rid of boundaries in the best way of markets. The affidavit mentioned the committee “specifically consulted farmers from various states and regions”, and therefore the petitioners’ declare of now not being consulted “has no basis in fact whatsoever”.

The affidavit went on to say a Working Group of Agriculture Production, constituted in May 2010, underneath the chairmanship of the Punjab Chief Minister and together with CMs of West Bengal and Bihar. It mentioned this team really helpful “that the market for agricultural produce must be immediately freed of all sorts of restrictions on movement, trading, stocking, finance, exports etc” and that “no monopoly, including that of APMCs or corporate licensees, should be allowed to restrict the market”. The committee additionally urged that the Essential Commodities Act be invoked handiest in instances of emergency and in session with states.

Next, in 2017, the Centre mentioned, the federal government formulated “a progressive, more liberal, farmers’ friendly and facilitative Model Act” — State Agriculture Produce and Livestock Marketing (Facilitation & Development) Act — to “provide for geographically restriction-free” industry of agricultural produce; to offer “freedom” to farmers to promote; to “enhance transparency” in bills; to advertise more than one channels for aggressive advertising and marketing, agri-processing and agricultural export; and to inspire investments.

The affidavit mentioned that on May 21, 2020, the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare held a gathering, attended by way of 13 states/UTs, for comments in this new felony framework.

It mentioned that whilst the Covid-19 lockdown setbacks had additional accentuated the will for reforms, handiest states reminiscent of Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Tripura and Meghalaya had taken some measures to facilitate farmers. And that it was once in mild of this that it had introduced within the 3 regulations by means of ordinances, that have been later changed by way of Acts.

About talks with the protesting farmers, the Centre mentioned it had completed all it would to handle “specific grievances of some farmers”, list the “constructive dialogue” hung on other dates, and the implementation of the Swaminathan Report thru hiked MSP. Given that the Acts had won “wide acceptance “, it said, the demand for repeal is “neither justifiable nor acceptable”.

Subsequently when the topic got here up for listening to, a bench headed by way of the then Chief Justice of India hinted that it will keep the operation of the regulations until an answer is located thru dialogue.

This was once antagonistic by way of Attorney General Ok Ok Venugopal announcing the recommendation is “drastic”. He argued that “none of the petitions point to any provision of three farm acts stating that it is unconstitutional”.

The AG identified that hundreds of farmers have already entered into contracts with buyers underneath the brand new regulations and staying them would price those farmers closely. “If implementation is stayed then what cannot be done directly will be done indirectly”, remarked Venugopal.

On January 12, the SC placed on grasp the implementation of the 3 enactments and introduced the setting-up of a committee to talk with the farmers and the federal government and recommend adjustments, if any.

The court docket additionally installed position a Committee comprising of Bhupinder Singh Mann, National President, Bhartiya Kisan Union and All India Kisan Coordination Committee,
Parmod Kumar Joshi, Agricultural Economist, Director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute, Ashok Gulati, Agricultural Economist and Former Chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices; and Anil Ghanwat, President, Shetkari Sanghatana. A couple of days later, Mann revised from the Committee announcing he’s with the protestors.

The committee submitted its report back to the highest court docket on March 19.

The SC heard the petitions final on January 20 this yr.

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