Many had speculated that this will end the Minimum Support Price (MSP) system but the government made it clear that it will continue

In order to transform the scenario of agriculture in the country and make farming a profitable profession for the youth, Rajya Sabha has passed two important bills aimed at increasing farmers’ income.

The Upper House passed 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.

The bills were tabled in the Lok Sabha by Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Narendra Singh Tomar on September 14 and were passed on September 17 after a round of discussions.

Calling it “a watershed moment in the history of Indian agriculture”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wished farmers on the passage of the farm bills in the Parliament.

PM Modi took to Twitter to extend his greetings to the farmers. He wrote, “A watershed moment in the history of Indian agriculture! Congratulations to our hardworking farmers on the passage of key bills in Parliament, which will ensure a complete transformation of the agriculture sector as well as empower crores of farmers.”

In another tweet, he said, “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.

Saying that the bills will enable farmers to use the latest technology for their benefit, he wrote, “Our agriculture sector is in desperate need of the 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.”

Putting speculations to rest, he wrote that the system of Minimum Support Price (MSP) will remain as it is.

He wrote, “I said it earlier and I say it once again: 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.”

Providing details on the legislation, an official statement said the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 will create an ecosystem where the farmers and traders will enjoy freedom of choice of sale and purchase of agri-produce. The bill will also promote barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade and commerce outside the physical premises of markets notified under State Agricultural Produce Marketing legislations.

The statement further said that the Bill also proposes an electronic trading in transaction platform for ensuring a seamless trade electronically. In addition to mandis, freedom to do trading at farmgate, cold storage, warehouse, processing units etc.

The government cleared the air regarding the bill. Many had speculated that it will put a stop to the MSP but the government made it clear that the MSP will continue as before.

Similarly, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 will empower farmers for engaging with processors, wholesalers, aggregators, wholesalers, large retailers and exporters among others on a level playing field, the statement said. The government said that under the bill, the farmers will have full power in the contract to fix a sale price of his choice for the produce. They will receive payment within 3 days.

Speaking about the Bills, Tomar said that the Government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken several landmark decisions in the last six years to ensure that farmers get remunerative prices for their produce, and for raising farmers’ incomes and livelihood status.