The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked a petitioner, Hemant Patil, to file a fresh PIL seeking implementation of recommendations of the M S Swaminathan Commission that suggests farmer reforms in the interest and improvement of the farming community. A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice N M Jamdar asked the petitioner to provide a copy of the Swaminathan Commission’s report as part of the fresh PIL.
The court also directed the state government to file a detailed affidavit mentioning the steps taken in implementation of the recommendations. The bench was hearing a PIL filed by Patil, the national president of an NGO, Bharat Against Corruption, which stated that despite the government appointing a national commission on the reforms of farmers under the chairmanship of Dr Swaminathan and several reports being submitted between 2004 and 2006, none of them have been implemented by the state or the central government.
The commission pointed out at working out a strategy for food and nutrition security, sustainability and stability of the farming system etc, apart from suggesting measures for enhancing the quality and cost competitiveness of farm commodities, measures for credit, knowledge, skill, technology and marketing and empowerment of women, among other issues.The PIL states that Dr Swaminathan urged the government to accept and implement the farmers’ commission report with regard to minimum support price for grains and the need to safeguard interests of small farmers and the increasing risk of taking up agriculture as a profession because of adverse incidents caused by climate change.
Abhinandan Vagyani, the government pleader, informed the court that fixing the price of agricultural products is the prerogative of the Centre and not the state. “Several measures have been taken such as waiving off the loan of farmers. Besides, a delegation from the state and the farming community will be sent to the Centre to consider various other schemes and measures,” Vagyani told the court. Noting that the recommendations are more than a decade old, the court pulled up the petitioner for not submitting the Swami-nathan report as the recommendations from the report form the crux of the PIL. “The petitioner has been directed to file a fresh PIL and submit the report on the Swaminathan Commission recommendation,” the court said.