ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Farm Laws

The possibilities for extension of the minimum support prices to ensure a decentralised procurement system in a diverse range of crops are discussed. How the architecture of this system in partnership with the private sector can be developed and how this could be made market-facing without compromising the primary interests of the farmers is also looked at.

The Government’s Retreat from Agricultural Policy

The Government of Bihar repealed the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act in 2006 intending to encourage private parties in agricultural marketing, which was supposed to provide more options to farmers to sell their produce. The experience from the state suggests that repealing the APMC Act did not persuade private entities to set up agricultural markets. This saw the number of mandis remaining stagnant, and with poor agricultural market density combined with negligible public procurement, it led to a lower price realisation by farmers in the state.

MSP in a Changing Agricultural Policy Environment

The minimum support price and the public procurement system are indispensable for national food security, public distribution system, farmer livelihood and welfare, and agricultural growth. Over time, the MSP regime has been beleaguered with weaknesses. Thus, agricultural reforms are essential to rectify these primarily by firming the government’s role in agricultural marketing to ensure farmer welfare. However, the new farm laws foster a policy environment based on the laissez-faire approach that will be inimical to farmers’ interests.

BJP’s Farming Policies

Agricultural market reforms recently enacted by the National Democratic Alliance government reflect the Bharatiya Janata Party’s determination to introduce agrobusinesses into agriculture and push further its agenda of centralisation of economic power and decision-making. The opposition to the reforms by farmers, many state governments, and regional political formations poses the most formidable challenge, so far, to this government. The contesting claims have missed the dimension of the damaging ecological implications of these reforms.

Bills of Contention

Suggestive content or procedural violation—what makes the BJP ’s farm bills more contentious?

Commission Agent System

Responding to the critique of their article on the commission agent system in Punjab, the authors highlight the perils of private solutions to agrarian problems. They propose an enhanced role of the public sector in obliterating the exploitative stronghold of arthiya system in order to protect the interests of farmers and address the problems of Punjab's agrarian economy.

Arthiyas in Punjab's APMC Mandis

A critique of "Commission Agent System: Significance in Contemporary Agricultural Economy of Punjab" by Sukhpal Singh and Shruti Bhogal (EPW, 7 November 2015).
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