RSS affiliate Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM) has called for guaranteed minimum support price and establishment of farmer courts to handle disputes related to contract farming to address farmer concerns.
The 14th All India Sammelan of SJM held virtually on December 13 passed a resolution to ensure remunerative prices to farmers under the law. However, the organisation did not call for repealing the farm legislations as many agitating farmer organisations have been demanding at the moment.
"Swadeshi Jagaran Manch believes that the government's intention in bringing new agricultural Acts is good. However, there are some amendments needed to overcome the drawbacks in the Acts, plug the shortcomings and allay the fears and doubts about the new bills," the SJM resolution says.
The organisation said that though 'The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020' seems to be intended to make sure farmers get the right price for their produce in the absence of intermediaries, big procurement companies may exploit the farmers once APMCs get weakened. "It would be appropriate that when laws are being made and purchases are being allowed outside the APMC markets, minimum support price (MSP) is guaranteed to the farmer and purchases below the MSP are declared illegal. Not only the government, should private parties also be barred to buy at less than MSP," SJM says.
The organisation also wanted the government to fast-track the establishment of the 22,000 agriculture mandis as promised. The other suggestion from SJM is to restrict the definition of 'farmer' to people who engages in farming and not to corporate entities. Facility of advance, part payments, right from the sowing stage, has been proposed.
"There should be a judicious dispute resolution mechanism for the farmers engaged in contract farming. The 'Dispute Resolution Mechanism' proposed by the 'The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020', related to contract farming is very complex for the farmers," the SJM says. Stating that the Sub-Divisional Magistrate is overburdened to play a key role in dispute resolution, SJM wants the establishment of farmer courts on the lines of consumer courts.