December 17, 2021 6:38:40 pm
The repeal of a new farm law introduced in September last year to let farmers sell their produce outside Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) markets is not on the agenda of the state BJP government in the winter session of the legislature. This, despite the recent repeal of a similar central law titled The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 by the BJP government at the Centre
Sources in the law ministry in Karnataka said the state government will not repeal the state law – The Karnataka Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation and Development) (Amendment) Act 2020 – which precedes the central law and is less comprehensive in its prescriptions for free trade of farmers’ produce outside APMC markets.
The ordinance to amend the APMC act was promulgated on May 15, 2020 by the state government following a cabinet decision to amend The Karnataka Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation and Development) Act, 1966.
The central law, which was repealed recently by the Narendra Modi government following farm protests, was passed in September 2020. The Karnataka legislative assembly followed suit and passed The Karnataka Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation and Development) (Amendment) Bill 2020 the same month while the legislative council passed the bill in December 2020, facilitating replacement of the May 2020 ordinance with the new act.
“The repeal of the new APMC act is not on the agenda of the government. The law passed in Karnataka precedes the central law and is limited in its nature,’’ said sources in the law ministry.
Farmer organisations like the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha have been demanding a repeal of the state law following the recent repeal of the central law. “Since the Centre has repealed three farm laws, the Karnataka government should withdraw the amendments to the APMC Act,’’ KRRS president Kodihalli Chandrashekhar said after the central laws were repealed recently. He said agitations would be taken up in Karnataka if the new state APMC law is not withdrawn.
“The amendments to the APMC act will not create any problems for farmers. As the son of a farmer my aim is to protect the interests of farmers. The law has been brought in after considerable discussions on its impact on the farming community,” BJP leader B S Yediyurappa, who was the CM in 2020, had stated. “We will not allow APMCs to collapse and will look after the interests of APMC workers,” he said.
“If farmers sell their produce to private players just because they get higher prices now, activities in APMCs will slow down and they will eventually get closed down. Farmers will have to then completely rely on private players,” the former Congress CM Siddaramaiah had stated last December while calling for protests against new agriculture linked laws introduced by the BJP in Karnataka.
“Though farmers get good prices in the initial days, there is no guarantee that they will get it later. Once private players dominate the procurement completely, farmers will have to sell their produce at throwaway prices,” Siddaramaiah said.
“The motive behind enacting an APMC amendment is to destroy the APMC set-up and stop MSP,” he said.
The Karnataka government has stated that the basic reasoning behind the amendments to The Karnataka Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation and Development) Act, 1966 was limited to removing an “anomaly in granting APMC market fee waivers to agro-based industries as per the industrial policy 2009-14 and Integrated Agro Business Development Policy-2011’’, under which industries have started production between April 6, 2011 and March 16, 2013 and to give effect to the Karnataka Agri Business and Food Processing Policy of 2015.
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