The opposition to the agricultural reforms introduced by the central government, which started in Parliament, has eventually reached the streets. Even as the government claimed that the newly passed farm laws fulfil the dream of 'one nation, one market' for agricultural products, the protesting farmers have questioned this.
According to farmers, the new agricultural law has created two markets for the crops.
While the Central government said that with the new law, farmers have got the freedom to sell their produce anywhere in the country, the farmers who are demanding the withdrawal of the new agricultural laws, believe that there no restrictions earlier too when it came to taking the agricultural produce from one state to another.
As per the provisions of the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Simplification) Act 2020 brought by the Central government, farmers can sell their produce within one state and outside the Mandis governed by the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) law anywhere from one state to another, and there will be no duty on the type of business, while Mandis operated under the APMC Act of the states have Mandi charges.
The government says that with this law, farmers have got freedom to sell their produce anywhere in the country and the entire country has become a market for agricultural products.
At the same time, farmers say that after the new agriculture law, two types of markets have been created in the country -- one is Mandis run by APMC and on the other hand, the trade area provisions in the new law.
A farmer leader said: "The license holders in APMC are job-seekers and businessmen. But the traders should have any government issued ID and PAN card in the trading area. Thus, the rules of the two markets are also different."
Even the businessmen have said the farmers are raising valid questions.
Gopaldas Aggarwal, president of the Gross Pulses-Oilseeds Merchant Federation in Madhya Pradesh, told IANS: "Earlier, grains and other agricultural products of Madhya Pradesh were sold in other states including Delhi... and farmers could take agricultural produce anywhere in the country. There was no restriction."
Farmers from other states including Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh are protesting on the borders of national capital since November 26.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar is expected to meet the leaders and representatives of the protesting farmer groups on Tuesday to hold a meeting with them.
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