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Monday, September 27, 2021

Maharashtra invites suggestions, objections about its amendments to Centre’s farm law

The Maharashtra amendments seek to strengthen the agriculture produce market committee (APMCs) and make minimum support price (MSP) and license for traders procuring farm produce from land tillers in Maharashtra mandatory.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: August 2, 2021 6:27:04 pm
Of the three central acts, this perhaps has been the most contentious as farmers feared the collapse of the present mandi system and that would leave them at the mercy of big traders. (Representational)

THE MAHARASHTRA government has sought suggestions and objections from general public regarding the amendments it has carried out to the three central legislations. The last date for filing the same is September 20.

During the recently concluded monsoon session of the state assembly, the Maharashtra government carried out the amendments to the three central farm laws. Majority of the Opposition-ruled states have either refused to implement the laws, or like Maharashtra, amended the same in their state.

The farm laws have become a sore point for the central government with the farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana carrying on an almost year-long protest against them.

The amendments that Maharashtra carried out is more suited to the state’s existing eco system. The main amendment carried out by the state in the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, is to specify that pre harvest contracts between the farmer and the buyer should not be below the government declared minimum support price (MSP).

In case an agreement is made for a price below the MSP, it will be valid only for two years. Also, instead of the sub-divisional officer, who is designated in the central act to hear complaints, the state’s law makes provision of competent authority and appellate authority to hear cases of dispute.

Similarly, for the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, is to introduce the need for buyers to take licence before trading outside the trade areas. Trade areas, as per the definition in the central act, are the physical boundaries of the wholesale markets or mandis.

In the central act, free trade outside the mandis was allowed, for which traders would not have to take any licence from any authority. Maharashtra’s amendment while allowing for such trade has made it mandatory for the trader to procure license before they trade.

Also, the dispute redressal mechanism is made robust in Maharashtra’s amendment. Of the three central acts, this was perhaps the most contentious as farmers feared the collapse of the present mandi system would leave them at the mercy of big traders.

The state government in its amendment to the Essential Commodities Act, 1950, took on the power on itself to prescribe stock limits on essential commodities.

The softcopy of the all the three acts are available on the website of Maharashtra legislature (www.mls.org.in). Suggestions and objections can be mailed to al.assembly.mls@gmail.com.

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