The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020: Explained

On 17 September 2020, Lok Sabha 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. Here, we are discussing The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 in detail

On 14th September 2020, 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 introduced in Lok Sabha by Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, to replace ordinances promulgated on 5th June 2020.

According to the Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, farmers will now have freedom for direct marketing of their produce and will be able to get better prices, MSP procurement system will continue, consumers also will benefit.

It is also said that the reforms will accelerate the growth of agriculture through private sector investment in building agricultural infrastructure and supply chains for Indian farm produce in national and global markets that will create opportunities and strengthen the economy.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020: In detail

It will allow intra-state and inter-state trade of farmers’ produce beyond the physical premises of APMC Markets. State governments are prohibited from levying any market fee, cess or levy outside APMC areas.

We can say that the bill seeks to provide for the creation of an ecosystem where the farmers and traders enjoy the freedom of choice relating to sale and purchase of farmers’ produce.

It will facilitate remunerative prices through competitive alternative trading channels to promote efficient, transparent and barrier-free inter-State and intra-State trade and commerce of farmers’ produce outside physical premises of markets or deemed markets notified under various State agricultural produce market legislations. And also to provide a facilitative framework for electronic trading and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Background: In India, farmers suffered from several restrictions in marketing their produce. For farmers, there were restrictions to sell agri-produce outside the notified APMC market yards. Also, the farmers were restricted to sell the produce only to registered licenses of the State Governments. Therefore, barriers existed in the free flow of agriculture produce between several States due to the prevalence of varied APMC legislation enacted by the State Governments.

Key features of the Bill

  1. Trade of farmers’ produce: The Ordinance allows intra-state and inter-state trade of farmers’ produce outside: (i) the physical premises of market yards run by market committees formed under the state APMC Acts and (ii) other markets notified under the state APMC Acts.
  2. Electronic trading: It also permits the electronic trading od scheduled farmers’ produce (agricultural produce regulated under any state APMC Act) in the specified trade area.
  3. Market fee abolished: The Ordinance prohibits state governments from levying any market fee, cess or levy on farmers, traders, and electronic trading platforms for the trade of farmers’ produce conducted in an ‘outside trade area’.

Benefits

– It will create an ecosystem for the farmers and traders as discussed above so that they will enjoy the freedom of choice of sale and purchase of agri-produce.

– It’ll promote barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade and commerce outside the physical premises of markets notified under State Agricultural Produce Marketing legislation.

– It will create several choices to the farmers, reduce marketing costs and also help farmers’ in getting better prices.

– It will also help farmers of regions with surplus produce to get better prices and consumers of regions with shortages, lower prices.

– For ensuring a seamless trade electronically, the bill also proposes electronic trading in transaction platform.

– The farmers won’t be charged any cess or levy for sale of their produce under this Act.

– Also, there will be a separate dispute resolution mechanism for the farmers’.

It will certainly pave the way for creating One India, One Agriculture Market and can lay the foundation for ensuring golden harvests for our hard-working farmers.

Source: PIB

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