Full protection ensured to farmers in legislation, MSP to continue, says Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar

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New legislation will create an ecosystem where the farmers and traders will enjoy freedom of choice of sale and purchase of agri-produce

Even as the Rajya Sabha on Sunday passed two Bills aimed at transforming agriculture in the country and raising farmers’ incomes, the government termed it as historic while the Opposition said the bills were anti-farmer.

Speaking about the Bills, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar said that the Narendra Modi-led government took several landmark decisions in last six years to ensure that farmers get remunerative prices for their produce, and for raising farmers’ incomes and livelihood status.

He again clarified that the procurement at Minimum Support Price (MSP) will continue, assurance for this has been given by the prime minister himself, rate of MSP has been increased considerably during 2014-2020 and MSP for coming Rabi season will be announced in coming week.

The minister said that full protection has been ensured to farmers in these legislations.

Explaining the provisions under the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, Tomar said that the new legislation will create an ecosystem where the farmers and traders will enjoy freedom of choice of sale and purchase of agri-produce.

Again, it will also promote barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade and commerce outside the physical premises of markets notified under State Agricultural Produce Marketing legislations.

He said that the farmers will not be charged any cess or levy for sale of their produce and will not have to bear transport costs.

"The Bill also proposes an electronic trading in transaction platform for ensuring a seamless trade electronically. In addition to mandis, freedom to do trading at farmgate, cold storage, warehouse, processing units etc," said the minister.

Farmers will be able to engage in direct marketing thereby eliminating intermediaries resulting in full realization of price, he said.

Ruling out the misunderstandings on the Bills, Tomar said that MSP system would contine, APMC mandis would continue even  if the farm produce is sold outside these mandis and e-NAM trading system will also continue in the mandis.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 ensures that the new legislation will empower farmers for engaging with processors, wholesalers, aggregators, wholesalers, large retailers, exporters etc., on a level playing field, said the minister.

Price assurance to farmers even before sowing of crops. In case of higher market price, farmers will be entitled to this price over and above the minimum price, he said.

"It will transfer the risk of market unpredictability from the farmer to the sponsor. Due to prior price determination, farmers will be shielded from the rise and fall of market prices," Tomar said.

He said that it will also enable the farmer to access modern technology, better seed and other inputs and this would reduce cost of marketing and improve income of farmers.

The minister said that effective dispute resolution mechanism has been provided for with clear time lines for redressal and the legislation provides for impetus to research and new technology in agriculture sector.

Image credit: One India

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