IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 8th Dec 2020

“If you can dream it, you can achieve it.” – Zig Ziglar

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020-21.

EDITORIAL HUNT #279 :“Why Farmers are Protesting

15 Reasons : Why Farmers are Protesting | UPSC 15 Reasons : Why Farmers are Protesting | UPSC

K.T.S. Tulsi is Senior Advocate and Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha | Tanessa Puri is an Associate at the Chambers of K.T.S. Tulsi

15 Reasons : Why Farmers are Protesting | UPSC

      HEADLINES:

The ground has fallen out from beneath the farmer’s feet

      CENTRAL THEME:

The Farm Acts are farmer-unfriendly and in violation of important constitutional safeguards

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3 : Agriculture

      MAINS QUESTION:

Examine the legality and framework of Farmer’s Bill and discuss the reasons for agitation at New Delhi.- -(GS 3)

      LEARNING: 

  • Brief introduction to the Bills
  • Legality and framework of the Bill
  • Reasons of Farmer’s protest
  • Way Forward

      INTRODUCTION: 

  • INTENT OF THE BILLS :  The intent was helping farmers by liberalising access to agricultural markets, removing existing barriers to storage of agricultural produce, and facilitating contract-farming.

Amidst the novel coronavirus pandemic, Indian farmers have marched their way to New Delhi.

  • THE AGITATION : The reason behind the protest is a request to repeal the recently passed Farmers Bill.

      BODY: 

CONCERNS FROM MANDIS

  1. APMC MANDIS : Most government procurement centres in Punjab, Haryana and a few other States are located within the notified APMC mandis. India needs more mandis rather selling outside the Mandis.
  2. TAX-FREE PRIVATE TRADE : Farmers fear that encouraging tax-free private trade outside the APMC mandis will make these notified markets unviable.
  3. REDUCTION IN MSP RATES : Tax free trade could lead to a reduction in government procurement itself.
  4. MSP CAN SET A FLOOR PRICE : Farmers are also demanding that MSPs be made universal, within mandis and outside, so that all buyers, government or private will have to use these rates as a floor price below which sales cannot be made.
  5. PIECEMEAL LEGISLATION : Although state claims that the bills are regulative processes , yojanas have been promulgated — several key concerns of farmers have gone unattended.

15 Reasons : Why Farmers are Protesting | UPSC

GAPS IN DEFINITIONS

  1. SYSTEMIC EXCLUSION : When these Acts define the term, “farmer”, they exclude the cropper, labourer, tiller, etc.
  2. EMERGENCY PROVISIONS : The Acts use multiple subjective terms such as “extraordinary circumstances” and “extraordinary price rise”.
  3. MULTIPLE INTERPRETATIONS : Even words such as “horticultural produce” and “non-perishable agricultural foodstuffs” are used so callously that they open up a contract to multiple disputes over interpretation.
  4. POWER TO REJECT THE YEILD : While defining a “farming agreement,” rather than bestowing power to the farmer, a sponsor has the power to refuse the yield.
  5. QUALITY AND STANDARDS : Acts mandate trade to occur when the produce is of a “mutually acceptable quality, grade and standard.”

This power has been given to a third party without any safeguards against such parties’ biases or prejudices.

MORE COSTS POSSIBLE

  1. CHALLENGING DIGITAL LITERACY : The Acts change all kinds of farming trade into digital contractual terms.
  2. ENRTY OF CRONY CAPITALISTS : In the alternative, open the floodgates of their exploitation at any time by such companies.
  3. OPERATIONAL COST : This lack of skill, knowledge and expertise will provoke farmers into hiring middlemen, thereby, increasing the operational cost for the farmer.
  4. RIGHT TO PROPERTY : All of this interferes with the freedom of a farmer to carry out his own trade under Article 19(1)(f) fetters in the way that the farmer earns his livelihood.
  5. STANDARD OF LIVING : This will also deny a decent standard of living by interfering in the way that such a ‘living’ is earned by the farmer, impinging on Article 43 of the Directive Principles of State Policy.

It reveals how there is an attempt at selling the farmer’s produce in a language that the farmer himself does not know. 

  1. MANDIS TO STOCK EXCHANGE : All three of these laws are palpable attempts to turn the activity of buying and selling farm produce into a form of stock exchange trade.
  2. CO-OPERATIVE FEDERALISM : The Centre has no jurisdiction over agriculture under the Concurrent List.
  3. LEGAL BACKING : These Acts lack a legal framework in the way that they came into existence.
  4. ADDITIONAL REVENUES FOR STATE : Additionally the Acts deprive States of their revenue via any cess or levy.

Therefore, these Acts are a challenge to the separation of powers which functions as the backbone to a democracy.

[wc_highlight color=”yellow” class=””]ALSO READ : FARMER’S BILL VS STATES  [/wc_highlight]

NO RIGHT TO APPEAL

  1. RIGHT TO APPEAL : The most inhumane of all provisions are those that take away the right of appeal from a farmer.
  2. ACCESS TO JUSTICE : We must commemorate the access to justice accorded by the Constitution under Articles 14 and 21, at this juncture where power is being exercised through multiple bureaucrats and decisions are immune from challenge.
  3. DISPUTE RESOLUTION MECHANISM FAILS : The Act goes on to then to overburden an already overworked Sub-Divisional Magistrate in the absence of such a conciliation process elucidated in the farming agreement.

Moreover, the quality check in such cases is to be done by a “third party”.

      IASbhai Windup: 

CHECKPOINTS

  • AUTOCRATIC POWERS : A sponsor in the bill has all such power in the absence of any necessity on his part to give reasons to the farmer behind any refusal.

This sponsor is also in-charge for checking legal compliance.

  • CHANGE IN CROPPING PATTERNS : In the attempt to secure produce of a “mutually acceptable quality”, farmers might be pressured into over-using his land either by excess plantation or by excessive use of chemicals, thus making it vulnerable to becoming barren.

The Acts in their dispute resolution provisions, fail to lay down who can represent the parties involved in such a dispute.

SUGGESTED READING : FARMERS BILL 2020 AND CONCERNS 
       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | 15 Reasons : Why Farmers are Protesting | UPSC

 

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