On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the minimum support price (MSP) for farm products will continue under the new legalisations.
"I assure every farmer of the country that the MSP system will continue to operate as before. Similarly, the way the campaign is run for government procurement every season, they will continue to run as before," Modi said at the launch of optical fibre cable link in Bihar.
The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 were passed on Sunday in the Rajya Sabha by voice note amid protests from Opposition. The bills will replace ordinances promulgated in June.
"For decades, the Indian farmer was bound by various constraints and bullied by middlemen. The bills passed by Parliament liberate the farmers from such adversities. These bills will add impetus to the efforts to double income of farmers and ensure greater prosperity for them. Our agriculture sector is in desperate need of latest technology that assists the industrious farmers. Now, with the passage of the bills, our farmers will have easier access to futuristic technology that will boost production and yield better results. This is a welcome step," PM Modi said in a tweet on Sunday.
I said it earlier and I say it once again:— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 20, 2020
System of MSP will remain.
Government procurement will continue.
We are here to serve our farmers. We will do everything possible to support them and ensure a better life for their coming generations.
Modi added that the government will continue to with open procurement of wheat and rice at MSP.
Opposition parties along with some alliance partners of the NDA demanded that the Bills be sent to a parliamentary committee for greater scrutiny but failed to muster the required numbers in the Upper House.
The opposition parties argued that the Bills will hurt the open procurement of wheat and rice at minimum support price (MSP), promotes corporatisation of the farm sector, attacks the federal structure on the grounds that both agriculture and markets were state subjects, among other objections.
Last week, food processing industries minister and senior leader of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned from his post as a sign of protest against the decision of the central government to introduce three farm bills in the Parliament.
The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, seeks to allow farmers the freedom to sell their produce outside the notified APMC market yards (mandis) and is aimed at facilitating remunerative prices through competitive alternative trading channels.
The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, seeks to give them the right to enter into a contract with agri-business firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters, or large retailers for the sale of future farming produce at a pre-agreed price.
The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 that removes commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, onion, and potatoes from the list of essential commodities and doing away with the imposition of stock holding limits, is also scheduled to be moved in the Rajya Sabha.