The majority of farmer organisations wanted three farm laws to remain in place: a member of the panel selected by the SC

  • March 22, 2022, 11:47 a.m.

The Supreme Court-appointed committee on Farm Laws had advised against the repeal of the three contentious farm laws that were rolled back by the Centre last year. Anil Ghanwat, member of the panel, said: "Had the Supreme Court published the Committee’s Report upon receipt, it could have educated protesting farmers about the benefits of the farm laws and potentially prevented the repeal of these laws."

The three laws were: The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, The Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.

The committee report has remained sealed before the Supreme Court so far. Ghanwat said: "The committee’s report notes that a repeal or a long suspension of these farm laws would be unfair to the silent majority who support the legislation."

Ghanwat also said that out of 73 farmer organisations that made submissions to the committee, 61, representing 3.3 crore farmers, had fully supported the new farm laws. "Most agitated farmers came from Punjab and north India, where the minimum support price (MSP) plays a significant role. These farmers were misled by socialist and communist leaders who lied about MSP being under threat. The laws said nothing about MSP. "

With regard to the Supreme Court-appointed committee’s report, Ghanwat said that "although it has been overtaken by events, it has educational value for farmers and policymakers." Farmers, mainly from north India, who protested against these laws and got them repealed, will now realise that they have harmed themselves and lost an opportunity to increase their incomes, "he said.

According to Ghanwat, it was a great political mistake on the part of the Modi government to repeal these laws. "The poor performance of the BJP in Punjab shows that the repeal did not make any political difference," he said.

The broad recommendations by the three-member committee mentioned that states may be allowed some flexibility in the implementation and design of the laws with the approval of the Centre. It also suggested alternative mechanisms for dispute settlement via civil courts or arbitration mechanisms, such as farmer courts.

Author : Rajdhani Delhi Representative

Rajdhani delhi representative

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