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Thursday, September 23, 2021

What does the Centre’s affidavit in SC on farm laws say?

The Centre filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court (SC) yesterday emphasizing that the farm laws have not been made in a rush but only after due deliberations with the concerned parties over a period of two decades.

Its affidavit in the SC reads:
(a) The legislations are not hurriedly made but it is the result of two decades of deliberation.
(b) The farmers of the nation are happy with laws as they are given additional options over and above the existing and therefore no vested right is taken away.
(c) The Central Government has done its best to engage with farmers to remove any misapprehension or misgivings in the minds of the farmers and no efforts have been found lacking.

The Centre said that ‘Representatives of Farmers’ Unions came with pre-occupied mind & instead of discussing the dispute rationally they raised placards with “YES or NO” to repeal the stated three Farm Reform Laws’. It further said that there is ” a deliberate wrong perception created systematically by non-farmer elements present at the protest site and using media/social media” to create misgivings with respect to the laws in the minds of farmers.

Despite many attempts made by the Centre to find a solution to the farmers’ misgivings about the laws, farmers unions always rejected it. The unions are insisting that the laws be repealed without as much as agreeing to deliberate over it point by point as suggested by Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar.

Eight rounds of meeting between the Centre and the protesting farmer unions have yielded no result as the unions are insisting on total repeal of the laws, a demand already rejected by the centre. On the other hand, there are many farmer unions that are supporting these farm bill all over the country while adding that they have only been benefited by these laws.

Soybean farmers in Maharashtra have benefited to get more out of APMC deals. In the last three months, MahaFPC, the umbrella body of farmer producing companies (FPC) in Maharashtra, estimates that since the laws were enacted in September, FPCs in four districts have made worth Rs 10 crore from trade outside mandis.

Why aren’t farmers in the entire country protesting against the bills? In fact, farmers in TN, West Bengal and Maharashtra have welcomed the bills. If the govt had to end the practice of MSP, why would it continuously increase its rates and buy more from farmers year-on-year? If the govt had to end mandis, why would it digitize them on the e-NAM portal? Today, 1,000 mandis are registered on the portal.

It is apparent that vested interests are playing a political agenda in the name of protest. In the meanwhile, the apex court has directed the Centre to put the three farm laws on hold while the committee appointed by the court holds deliberations with protesting farmers and examine the farm laws.

While passing the order, the court said that it wished to solve the stalemate between the Centre and the farmers by setting up a committee. CJI SA Bobde-headed bench appointed HS Mann, Pramod Kumar Joshi, Ashok Gulati, and Anil Dhanwant as members of the four-member committee that would examine the farm laws.


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