Farmers’ body, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) on Friday moved the Supreme Court highlighting the “inconclusive” talks with the Centre over the repeal of the three controversial farm laws , which it said would lead to the cartelisation of agricultural produce and usher in an exploitative regime.
The Union said the court should direct the government to strengthen the existing Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) system for sale of farm produce at a good bargain.
The Union said, rather than expecting a poor and illiterate farmer to strike a hard bargain and sell his produce to a multinational, the government should infuse more funds into the APMC system and effectively manage the Minimum Support Price for the welfare of the agriculture sector.
The petition, filed through advocate A.P. Singh, suggested the Constitution of a ‘Farmers Commission’ to fix the prices of crops. The farmers’ body recommended the waiver of agriculture loans to help farmers finds their feet during the pandemic. It said farmers have taken their own lives unable to bear the burden of their debts.
The petition said the farm laws would only drive the farming sector into famine.
The Hindu Explains | Who gains and who loses from the farm laws?
“If they (laws) are allowed to stand we are going to completely ruin our country as the corporates can, in one stroke, export our agriculture produces without any regulation. This may even result in famines,” the petition said.
The petition said the three laws were passed hastily, with hardly a discussion.
“In their current form, they will spell disaster for the farming community by opening a parallel market which is unregulated and gives enough place for exploitation of farmers... Farmers will become vulnerable to corporate greed of multi-national companies. The laws would dismantle the agriculture produce market committee system intended to insure fair prices for farm products,” the petition said.
The plea pointed to the amendments in the Essential Commodities Act and said, “Amendments to the Essential Commodities Act would facilitate black marketeering.”
On October 12, the apex court had sought the government’s response on several other petitions challenging the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Agriculture and Promotion) Act, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act of 2020. These petitions had translated the enactment of the new laws as a means to usher in an “anti-farmer exploitative regime”.