March 31, 2021 2:17:34 am
More than six months after the Narendra Modi-led government passed three agricultural laws, protests are still going strong. The Supreme Court-appointed committee, formed to study the laws in detail and talk to all the stakeholders, is about to submit its report, while the application of the laws continues to be held in suspension.
The protest against the laws saw unprecedented mobilisation by farmers from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, and kept the areas around Delhi borders blocked for months. Protesting farmer leaders have tried to raise the issue in the ongoing Assembly elections in West Bengal as well.
The high-voltage politics around the three farm laws has often relegated the discussion on actual contents of the Bills, and intent, into the background.
On Wednesday, two experts, Balram Singh Yadav, managing director of Godrej Agrovet, a large agri-business company, and Sudha Narayanan, research fellow at International Food Policy Research Institute, will appear at the Live Explained session conducted by The Indian Express to clear the fog on the provisions of the farm bills, and suggest the possible ways forward to break the current deadlock.
Yadav, an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad, began his career with Godrej Agrovet in 1990. Having twice served as the chairman of the industry body CLFMA (India), Yadav is a regular contributor to national and international fora in areas of food and agriculture.
He had played a crucial part in the public listing of the company in 2017 which has been a runaway success at the bourse.
Narayanan has a PhD from Cornell university specialising in agricultural economics. Her research focuses on contract farming, agrifood value chains, technology adoption in agriculture public policies for food security and employment and agri nutrition linkages. She was previously associated with the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research as associate professor.
Of the three laws, the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 has drawn the most protests with farmer’s groups claiming that it is a ploy to dismantled the present network of Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMC)s and hence the safety net of government procurement at Minimum Support Price (MSP). There have been allegations of corporatising of agriculture, both charges vehemently denied by the government.
On its part the government has claimed these laws are culmination of years of reforms and will ensure more transparency in agricultural marketing and better earnings for farmers. The other two laws viz Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Acts the government says will clear the bottlenecks in agricultural marketing and bring about investment in agri infrastructure in the country.
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