SC panel had suggested repeal of farm laws, says farmers faced loss of $40 bn per annum

New Delhi: The three member committee appointed by the Supreme Court had suggested repeal of the three farm laws and said the farmers had faced a loss of $40 billion per year due to the Essential Commodities Act.

Releasing the report to the media, one of the members Anil Ghanwat said, the government should not intervene in deciding the rates for produce and ideally the Essential Commodities Act should not be there. “If at all, then it needs massive reforms. We need to do away with archaic law.”

The broad recommendations include the foremost, repeal or a long suspension of these Farm Laws would be unfair to the ‘silent’ majority who support the Farm Laws.

It also said states may be allowed some flexibility in implementation and design of the laws, with the prior approval of the Centre, so that the basic spirit of these laws for promoting effective competition in agricultural markets and creation of ‘one nation, one market’ is not violated.

An important recommendation was an alternative mechanism for dispute settlement, via Civil courts or arbitration mechanism, may be provided to the stakeholders.

The Government should take urgent steps towards strengthening agricultural infrastructure; enabling aggregation, assaying and quality sorting of agri produce through cooperatives and Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), and closer interaction between farmers and warehouses/processors/exporters/retailers/bulk buyers, it said.

“An Agriculture Marketing Council, under the chairpersonship of Union Minister of Agriculture, with all States and UTs as members may be formed on lines of the GST Council to reinforce cooperative efforts to monitor and streamline the implementation of these Acts,” the report said.

Apart from the broad recommendations, the report also gave different sets of recommendations regarding the three laws and another set related to Agriculture price policies.

The MSP and procurement support policy, as was designed for cereals during the Green Revolution time, needs to be revisited, the Committee said.

For wheat and rice, there has to be a cap on procurement which is commensurate to the needs of the Public Distribution System (PDS). The savings from this capping on wheat and rice procurement may be utilized to enhance prize stabilization fund for other commodities such as nutri-cereals, pulses, oilseeds and even onion and potatoes on open market principles, the report added.IANS

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