Updated: July 1, 2021 7:39:30 pm
Maharashtra government will bring in a new farmer-friendly agriculture legislature bill in the two-day monsoon session of the state assembly that begins on July 5, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar said on Thursday.
Unhappy with Centre’s three farm laws that have triggered protests in several parts of the country, the state’s ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government wants to bring its own legislature, which will strengthen the Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) and “secure farmers from exploitation of outside traders”, said Pawar.
Maharashtra has 305 APMCs with an average annual turnover of Rs 50,000 crore. Majority of the state’s 1.56 crore farmers rely on these committees to sell their agriculture produce post- harvest in Kharif and Rabi season.
The state has decided to bring its own legislature as it believes the Central government laws are aimed at making APMCs irrelevant, said revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat.
“We will make licences mandatory for every individual or trader who wants to procure farm produce from state’s farmers,” Thorat had said last week.
Another feature of the new bill would be related to strict implementation of Minimum Support Price (MSP) to farmers. Anybody violating the MSP could be subjected to punishment and fine, said sources. However, there are differences within the cabinet on making violation of MSP a criminal offense, with a section of leaders arguing that stringent punishment would lead to confrontation between farmers and APMC officials, “which would defeat the objective of the bill”, they added.
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