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Farm Bills 2020 latest Update: President Gives Assent to Three Bills Amid Intensifying Protest; Farmers call it ‘Dark Day’ for India

Amid the continuous vehement protest by the farmers and opposition parties against the controversial bill, President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday gave his assent for the three bills passed by the Parliament.

Pronami Chetia

Amid the continuous vehement protest by the farmers and opposition parties against the controversial bill,President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday gave his assent for the three bills passed by the Parliament. While farmers of many states have expressed their disagreement towards the new legislation and come out to street, Maharashtra and few parts of Uttar Pradesh farmers have considered the bill as historic one.

What are the Three Agriculture Bills?

The three bills are Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020.

These bills were passed by the both houses amid the heavy ruckus and drama created by opposition parties during the recently concluded monsoon session.

On the other hand, few parties like the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), NDA's oldest ally, quit the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)on Sunday over the controversial farm bills issue.

The farmers say that they are apprehensive about getting Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their produce and also concerned about the upper hand of the agri-businesses and big retailers in negotiations.

"Bharat bandh" was observed across the states while farmers blocked several roads in Haryana.

The movement of trains remained suspended on Saturday in Punjab as farmers have extended their “rail roko" agitation by three days till September 29.

In Punjab, the call for the “rail roko" agitation was given by the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee after which 20 trains were partially cancelled and five short terminated till September 26 by the Railways.

Why Farmers are Protesting against Farm Bill 2020?

The farmers who are fervently opposing the agribill believes that this bill is made to help big corporate houses at the cost of farmers. The opposition parties have also stood against the three bills, calling them "anti-farmers".

Fear of not getting MSP

The issues and fears raised by the protesters include end of ‘minimum support price’ (MSP) regime in due course, irrelevance of state-controlled Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) ‘mandis’, risk of losing out land rights under contract farming rule, reduction in price of farm produce due to market domination by big agri-businesses and exploitation of farmers by big contractors through contract farming provisions.

The new reformations are likely to impact influential ‘commission agents’ (known as ‘arhatiyas’ in Punjab and Haryana) in ‘mandis’ who don’t want their grip over farmers to weaken.

Ashok Prasad, CEO & co-founder, Unnati said, "This is a revolutionary step taken by the government in transforming the agriculture sector and enabling farmers to become more competitive and turn the industry into a lucrative one. As a player in the ecosystem, it is clear that the intent of the bill is headed in the right direction and will certainly have a positive impact on farmers across the country. Particularly for small farmers, the bill will benefit them since they will not be able to sell their produce directly to processors and be presented with a plethora of choices that were absent earlier. It will place the power in the farmers’ hands to decide where, how, and what to produce. Prominent stakeholders such as agri-tech platforms will also play a pivotal role in creating online mediums to facilitate the output aggregation. Furthermore, they can also provide real-time access to farmers. The bills will undoubtedly offer a huge scope of new players to emerge in the market.”

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