As the ongoing farmers’ protest entered day 26 today, News18 Network has conducted a survey across 22 states to gauge the sentiments of the people of India regarding the Modi government’s new farm laws. According to the survey, a majority of Indians have put their weight behind the new farm laws finding it beneficial for the Indian farmers. Maximum opined that its high time that the agitation by the farmers is called off.
While 53.6 per cent respondents across the country stood in favour of the new farm laws, 56.59 per cent believed it was time for the farmers to call off their protest. 60.9 per cent agreed that the farmers can get a better price for their produce under the Modi government implemented new farm reform laws.
As per the feedback collected from more than 2400 respondents, majority respondents, especially from agrarian states, like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, believed that the new farm reform laws brought by the Modi government would benefit farmers. Punjab being the only exception, where the response was a little muted, reports News18.
70 per cent people welcomed Modi government’s decision
While more than three out of five people News18 spoke to agreed that farmers would be able to get better prices under the new farm reform laws, 70 per cent welcomed Modi government’s decision to give farmers the choice to sell their produce outside APMC mandis was the right.
According to the data collected by News18, while almost 70 per cent people from all across all regions voiced support for reform and modernisation in agriculture, the highest support was recorded in southern states at 74 per cent.
Further, the survey said that close to half the respondents (48.7 per cent) felt that the opposition to the farm reforms was politically motivated, and more than half (52.69 per cent) believed that the protesting farmers should not insist on repeal of the farm reform laws and must come to a compromise with the government, ending the month-long agitation. 53.94 per cent opined that the farmers should agree to the government’s written offer that MSP would continue.
Moreover, almost 63.77 per cent North Indians extended support for the new farms laws introduced, which was the highest number of respondents, followed by West India at 62.90 per cent. Respondents from all zones also support giving farmers the right to sell their produce outside APMC mandis, said the survey conducted by the news network.
What are the farm laws?
One of the biggest factors plaguing the growth of agriculture sector in the country is the inability of the farmer to find a market and to get a fair price to his produce. To address the issue, the erstwhile governments of different states enacted the Agricultural Produce Market Regulation Acts (APMC Acts), which authorised them to set up and regulate marketing practices in wholesale markets.
The objective of these markets was to ensure that farmers get a fair price for their produce. However, with each passing year, the APMCs turned out to be inefficient with increasing cartelisation of middlemen, ban on private players to enter the trade, increasing corruption etc.
The Modi government recently introduced three bills to promote much easier trade for the farm produce and to provide a competitive market for the producers outside the existing APMC system. The three laws were:
- The Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020: This law aims at creating additional trading opportunities outside the APMC market yards to help farmers get remunerative prices due to additional competition
- The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020: This law relates a framework for contract farming through an agreement between a farmer and a buyer prior to the production or rearing of any farm produce.
- The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020: This law aims to regulate the supply of certain food items only under extraordinary circumstances.
It is pertinent to mention that the farm laws are set of three laws that allow farmers to sell their products outside APMC act (most states make it compulsory for the farmers to sell at APMC mandis). It also allows farmers to directly have a contract with corporate houses.
That farm laws don’t do away with APMC, and if someone is not willing to trust markets outside the current system, they are free to stick to the ongoing system. It doesn’t do away with MSPs either. However, the prevalent narrative that seems to be motivated by political concerns falsely claims that APMCs and MSP are being done away with.
They also allege that due to these laws, big corporations would have the upper hand in a deal with farmers, however, that again is a lie. In fact, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 ensure that a contract is agreed upon and gives the farmer the power to even cancel contracts.
With the protest entering its 26th day, the central government has tried to hold several rounds of dialogue with the farmers camping at the outskirts of Delhi. It has offered several concessions to address their fears and concerns, but the farmer unions have insisted on the repeal of the three laws, leading to a freeze in the talks.