The new farm bills do not guarantee MSP & APMC. These provisions have only been the administrative decision that the government assures to continue.
The new farm bills do not guarantee MSP & APMC. These provisions have only been the administrative decision that the government assures to continue.The 2020 Indian farm reforms refer to the three agricultural bills passed by India's Parliament on Sept. 27, 2020. The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce, the Farmers Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services, and the Essential Commodities Act are the three farm bills that received the president's assent turning them into laws.
The Indian government has often reassured the farmers that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMC) would prevail and not be removed at any cost. However, farmers; criticize the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce Act's provision, which provides a trade area outside APMC Mandis. The farmers fear that the MSP mechanism will not be available if the Mandi system stops. However, the government has only assured farmers that MSP is an administrative decision and remains in the future, but they have not made the provision legal or added it in the laws.
The government has also suggested making MSP a statutory price for producers and treating any transaction below it as unlawful. If the legal status were to ensure MSP to farmers, it would be the easiest way for any government to help farmers get desired prices. On November 29, Agriculture Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar clarified that farm bills have nothing to do with the MSP. He also said that MSP has never been a part of any law, neither in past farm laws nor the new one.
The agricultural bills provide farmers trading opportunities outside the APMC market yards to help farmers get fair prices due to additional competition. The farmers would not be charged any cess for selling their products under the Act. While the new law provides farmers with an option to sell their products at the place of their choice, the law never guarantees the status of APMCs.
Ultimately, there are chances of the MSP weakening or eroding over time as the bills do not technically guarantee it. NDTV reported an instance where repealing the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act in Bihar in 2005, which severely affected farmers’ livelihood. Contrary to the state's CM's statements, experts claim that farmers have not had a favorable market for their products since then.