The union government may, through an executive order, add an executive order to farmer-freeing laws to persuade the agitating peasants’ organisations that demand a complete abolition of the reform legislation. This may address the concerns of farmers. The rules of related laws may be changed to meet other demands of the farmers, sources in the centre said. Of course, the adamant farmer organisations are not likely to be impressed.
A senior agriculture ministry official said that in Thursday’s meeting, the government did note down for consideration the farmer organisations’ objections to the three agricultural laws. The government, this source said, would meet the principal demand of farmers through an executive order to keep the Minimum Support Price (MSP) unchanged.
While this will make it mandatory for wholesale markets of the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), a section of the government is not willing to fix the price of crops for private buyers as well. The section believes it would either open the floodgates for tripartite litigation involving private buyers, farmers and the government or threaten to jail functionaries of the private sector in the agriculture and food processing industry.
In case of dispute between the farmer and the company in contract farming, the farmers will have the option to go to the court in addition to the SDM-DM court. The rules of this law can be changed, though. It will be mandatory to register the company besides furnishing the PAN to remove the purchase limit in the required food regulations. That is, the companies will not only have to buy crops at MSP but also buy the entire stock that the farmers offer to sell them.
The government may further consider introducing a tax in open markets and ending them in markets of state governments.
There is a possibility of accepting demands like an amendment in the electricity bill, penalty on stubble burning and withdrawal of cases registered on farmers. The official said that through amendments in the three agricultural laws, efforts will be made to end the agitation of the farmers by fulfilling their demands through the multiple approaches described above.
Farmers’ organisations have demanded a repeal of the three agricultural laws in a special session of the parliament. They want a new law to be enacted on MSP where taking farmer organisations’ consent for price-determination will be mandatory. The government is not ready for this. It is likely that the next meeting between the government and representatives of farmers would end in a stalemate again.