Agriculture reforms in India – New Farm Laws 2020

Farm Laws 2020 – New agriculture reforms in India. Criticism/ Why the passing of laws such as new farm laws 2020 not new to India.-

Agriculture reforms in India

A) New Farm Laws 2020 –


As India is an agricultural country the various reforms have taken place in the history of agri reforms. But the new farm laws 2020 are making some “extraordinary” reforms which even farmers did not want

And hence are peacefully protesting & while also being called as always to anyone who raises voice against govt.

By various imaginary insulting names even by union ministers directly without caring about the office they are holding governing the Country

And its image itself in front of the world & by govt controlled media also. Before discussing the new farm laws, it is also necessary to know how these laws were passed in parliament.

These laws were passed in the mid of the pandemic situation not so good in India.

The opposition, Farmer Unions, & other intellectuals even wondered what was the need of immediately passing of three new bills in such a situation.

Besides this these bills were passed first time in the history of  Rajyasabha without voting of members despite demanding the division of votes by them.

The Chairman gave various reasons like the members were not on their seats while demanding division of vote

But the print media reports showed how many members of the opposition were on their seats

And how the chairman was not listening to their demand that’s why entered the well of the house.


many opposition members were protesting outside Parliament against these bills.

Even walked out and in such circumstances without discussions, without voting these bills were passed. Another episode of the muting of mikes also seen in Rajyasabha during the passing of these bills when the opposition was demanding division of votes.

The mikes were muted so the viewers of RSTV who are also citizens of this country cannot properly see what is going on in Rajyasabha.

One can easily see how the parliamentary process was so diligently followed in only one such instance by this government in India.

There are plenty of instances like this which undermines the democratic fabric of our country, some examples can be given

such as The Central Vista Project of twenty thousand crores in pandemic times where health care, employment, economy need the stimulus.


Last years laws like CAA, after NRC in Assam giving “surprise results” to ruling state & central govt. bringing religion as a criterion to citizenship through this amendment Act 

And only leaving one religion out of its purview to take citizenship which is fundamentally discriminatory violating the Constitution of India.

Even the ruling govt says openly about its chronology as NRC first, 

which has increased fears of the minority in this country.

The reference to CAA is necessary because it also saw the similar protests as farm laws but neither clearly got the support of any political party as it was a question of a minority or one religion to whom supporting may drag anyone behind bars under UAPA, NSA,  nor of society as compared to protest against farm laws. 

In fact,

the recent ordinance in UP in the name of restricting forceful conversions, as well as misuse of UAPA, NIA, ED, CBI, control on media, defecting MLAs in states, distracting each time instead of focusing on main issues, are only some examples of too much democracy in India.

Agriculture reforms in India

B)New Farm Laws 2020 & Issues –

Following are the major concerns against these new farm laws 2020-

1) Power of State / Parliament/ Question of Federalism -:

Agriculture and markets as being state subject bills are being seen as an encroachment on the function of state & against cooperative federalism.

In the State List, eight entries consist terms relating to agriculture, some of which are Entry 14 which provides for agricultural education and research,

pests, plant diseases, entry 18 provides for rights in or over land, rents, transfer agricultural land, agricultural loans,

also, entry 30 provides about agricultural indebtedness, entry 45 provides for land revenue, land records, again entry 46 lays down tax on agricultural income, and entry no. 48  lays down estate duty for agricultural land.

It is crystal clear that the Union List and Concurrent List put subject matters of agriculture outside Parliament’s jurisdiction,

and has given exclusive power to state legislatures. No entry relating to agriculture subject matter in the State List is subject to any of the entry in the Union or Concurrent Lists.

Agriculture reforms in India

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

This law gives freedom to farmers to sell anywhere. This may lead to the corporatisation of agriculture sector.

Farmers will not be charged any cess or levy for sale of their produce under this Act.

While the current position is that farmers can sell outside the APMC,

and most in fact sell also but after payment of the required cess.

In states such as Haryana, Punjab the main states of the protests, the market fee, rural development fee, and arhatiya’s commission are between 2 to 3 %.

These sources are considered as big sources of state revenue —

Under these new laws with states not permitted to levy a market fee or cess outside APMC areas,

Punjab and Haryana may be losing such a big revenue of an estimated Rs 3,500 crore and Rs 1,600 crore every year.


i)More number of choices for farmers,

             ii) Reduction in marketing costs,

            iii) May help in getting better prices for products.

            iv) May help consumers in such areas having farm product shortages at a low price.

Cons :

i)  states may suffer revenue loss in form of cess /fees if farmers sell produce outside APMC markets.

ii)  End of the minimum support price (MSP) -based procurement system which will lead to farmers  exploitation by private companies.

iii) No mandis means no MSP

iv) Lakhs of mandi workers will be unemployed.

V) Sec. 13 of the Act says, No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against the Central or State Government, or any officer of govt.

or any other person in respect of anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done under this Act or of any rules or orders made thereunder.

This provision raises concerns about how a farmer can defend in any practical situation if such provisions are construed in the statute itself.

vi) Another most controversial provision of this Act i.e. Sec.15 lays down that, ” No civil court shall have jurisdiction to entertain any suit or proceedings in respect of any matter,

The cognizance of which can be taken and disposed of by any authority empowered by or under this Act or the rules made thereunder.”

This provision excludes the jurisdiction of Civil Court & gives power to the Conciliation Board appointed by

The Sub- Divisional Magistrate for settlement of the dispute, which will be binding on the parties.


This Act provides a composition of Board of a chairperson and two to four members as the Sub-Divisional Magistrate may deem fit.

Parties will first have to make an application to the SDM seeking a “mutually acceptable solution through conciliation”.

After that, the  Board will take up the dispute. The parties themselves can recommend one or two members each as members to the Board along with the Chairperson,

who will be a government employee appointed by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate.

If such dispute is not settled within 30 days of being brought before the Board,

then the SDM will hear the dispute acting as the “Sub-Divisional Authority” for settlement of such dispute.


An appeal may be preferred against the orders of the Sub-Divisional Authority, within 60 days from the date of the order,

To an officer not below the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India, to be nominated by the Central Government for this purpose.

After observation of the whole procedure why farmer will not fear as everything in the dispute settlement mechanism is in the hands of the government.”

Agriculture reforms in India

3) The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020

This Act provides for contract farming, in which farmers will have to produce crops as per contracts with corporate investors for a mutually agreed remuneration.

The protesting farmers have concerns about powerful big corporate investors can easily bind them to unfavourable contracts drafted by big corporate law firms,

With liability clauses or any other clauses, terms, conditions making it beyond the understanding of poor farmers probably most of the times this will happen.

Pros  :

i)  This Act gives farmers right to enter into a contract with corporate agribusiness firms or processors or wholesalers, exporters,

or large retailers for the sale of future farming produce at a mutually agreed price in the contract.

ii) Act attempts to transfer of risk factor of market unpredictability from farmers to  investors.

iii) access to modern tech to boost farmer income by reduction in cost of marketing.

Agriculture reforms in India


i) no fixed price will lead to exploitation.

ii) Farm Unions and opposition parties argue that law is framed to suit “big corporates who are trying to dominate the agriculture business sector with help of the government.

iii) weak negotiating power of farmers as compared to corporate big players, which will lead to exploitation of farmers.

iv)  Also, the chances are a corporate party involved in the contract may get an edge in all this business because however rich or big farmer maybe but is small in front of the corporate investors.

v) In this Act also Sec.19-
Excludes the jurisdiction of Civil Court to entertain any dispute which are authorities appointed by govt.
under the Act & even excluding the power of granting the injunction.

4) The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020:

 This Act attempts to remove commodities such as onion,  potatoes, cereals, pulses and oilseeds from the list of essential commodities

And cancel the imposition of stock holding limits on aforesaid items except under war, extraordinary rise in price, famine, natural calamity and any other extraordinary circumstances equivalent to it.


i) This Act seeks to obtain private investment and foreign direct investment in the Agri sector.

            ii) This Act  attempts to  bring price stability.


i) Corporate player may get the full-fledged freedom to stock commodities,

eventually helping such company to dictate terms & conditions to farmers.

ii) License no longer required to trade these commodities.

iii) will lead to indiscriminate stockpiling & hoarding of goods

Agriculture reforms in India

C) Conclusion/Summary/Author Opinion :

The government stance is that MSP mechanism for farmers will be continue. The new farm laws are not intended to encroach upon the existing APMC legislation’s of the states.

Also, new laws seek to make sure that farmers get better prices for their products without being subject to the regulations of mandis.

and new laws will help in increasing competition and in promotion of private investment which can lead to the development of farming sector infrastructure and can also create new employment opportunities.

Even though the stance of as aforementioned but farmers concerns are correct in following sense :

1) No mandis – situation as in Bihar is in front of them or no mandis no MSP. In Bihar farmers has no option but forced to sell produce below MSP.
E.g. MSP for Paddy is 1,868 per quintal.
but due to abolition of mandis farmers in Bihar sold paddy for 800-1200 per quintal as per reports.

2) No MSP – mentioned in new laws making it difficult for farmer to bargain with big companies.

3) No bargaining power

4) Farmers vulnerable to exploitation in by corporate

5) Lakhs of Mandi workers unemployed

6) Rising debts

7) More than 60% of the population depends upon agriculture for a living. In such times many are already in debt. Also, various reports of 2018-2019 have shown more than 20 thousand suicides.

8) According to farmers this govt is giving everything to the business tycoons in the country.
Such as airports, petroleum, telecom, railway, metro, energy, Public Sector Undertakings & now its turn for the agriculture sector.

9) Even govt have given some proposals of amendments in these laws but

farmers are firm on their stand because they are saying that if they compromise today they will be compromised forever

And nobody will listen to them, as even after the big protests they faced water cannons, tear gases.& govt is still not fulfilling them.

10) According to farmers the govt &  PM should talk with the protesting farmers & not with other farmers of the country.  Also, govt should fulfill their demands of revoking the farm laws, written MSP in Laws.

New Farm Laws 2020

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