BEFORE Monday’s meeting between the farmers’ unions and the Center, and after more than half a dozen previous meetings that have failed to break the deadlock between the two groups, experts are discussing the way to be continued.
At a time when the Center does not repeal the three bills or make the MSP a legal entity and farmers are not ready to settle for less, most experts agree that the MSP for all crops is essential so that small-scale farmers and agricultural workers can obtain an assured income to meet their basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, education of their children, health security, social security, etc.
Professor Gian Singh, retired professor of economics from the University of Punjabi, Patiala, and expert on agricultural issues, said: “At the last meeting, the government took a bit of a big stance towards the demands of the people. farmers. This is a good sign and the government could announce the repeal of these three contentious laws. To resolve this situation, the Center can respect the federal structure of the country and ask the states to legislate on the subject according to their needs.
Former Punjab Agriculture Department director and member secretary of the Punjab State Commission for Farmers and Farm Workers Balwinder Singh Sidhu, who is among the officials observing discussions between the farmers’ unions and the Center, said: and along with repealing these laws and legalizing PSM, there is a lot of work to be done to make structural changes to agricultural policies to provide remunerative incomes for small farmers and laborers. agricultural. “
He added: “There are some options with the Center and the agricultural unions to resolve the current situation. For the Center, the first is that it should cancel these laws because farmers believe that these laws were enacted under pressure from the WTO and the World Bank (WB) to get companies into production. agricultural and trade. Second, the Center should give States the flexibility to adopt these laws according to their circumstances, either as they stand or to make changes in their respective States because these laws have been adopted in an unconstitutional manner. This allows states to decide according to their needs. Third, the Center should give an affidavit to the Supreme Court when a petition on this matter is pending and the next hearing of it is on January 5 to suspend the implementation of these laws for the next two years. . During this period, the Supreme Court may appoint a commission under the chairmanship of a retired judge. This committee can discuss the matter with the groups concerned and present its report which must be tabled in Parliament. Fourth, when several state governments, including Punjab, Rajasthan, Chattishgarh, etc. The Center rejects such amendments, states can challenge these laws in the Supreme Court. “
“Payment of the MSP for all crops is an important issue and for this the central government should appoint a statutory committee and prepare a report which is to be tabled in parliament for deliberation, after which the government should pass a law to give a MSP. remunerative to farmers. In addition, the Agricultural Costs and Prices Commission (CACP), which gives an MSP of 23 crops each year, is expected to become a constitutional body because in doing so, the country will achieve the goal of crop diversification and help decrease crop production. ‘importation of several agricultural crops,’ said Sidhu.
He also said that farmers’ unions should come up with strong alternatives to make these laws ineffective (if the Center does not repeal them and make only a few amendments).
“In the long term, we need changes in the agricultural structure of the country and annual packages worth several crores for states, especially those that brought the ‘green revolution’.
A period of five years should be given to stop the exploitation of natural resources there and motivate farmers to diversify crops, establish an agro-food industry in rural areas to provide alternative jobs for small farmers and to agricultural workers, to obtain a guaranteed income for each harvest, ”he said, adding that this would provide enormous support to agriculture in distress.
“The annulment of these laws will control the entry of companies into the agricultural sector, but after winning this battle, we will return on June 4 (three agricultural ordinances, which have become law now, were notified on June 5, 2020) when the farmers were under acute stress. To control this situation in the future, the Center has an alternative to modify the agricultural policies according to the needs of our country and to revise the economic model of the country ”, declared Professor Gian Singh.