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Most farmers' bodies supported the 3 farm laws: SC-appointed panel

Most farmers bodies supported the 3 farm laws: SC-appointed panel
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court-appointed panel was not in favour of total repeal of the three controversial farm laws and instead had suggested leaving procurement of crops at a specified price to the states and scrapping of Essential Commodities Act, one of the three members of the panel said on Monday while releasing the committee's report.

Pune-based farmer leader Anil Ghanwat said he had on three occasions written to the Supreme Court for releasing the report of the committee but in the absence of a response, he was releasing it on his own.

The other two members — economist Ashok Gulati and agri-economist Pramod Kumar Joshi — were not present at a hurriedly called press conference here.

The panel had submitted its recommendations on the three farm laws, which among other things, allowed farmers to sell agri produce to private entities outside the government mandis, on March 19, 2021.

The three farm laws were repealed by the Modi government in November last year, ahead of assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.

Addressing the press conference, Ghanwat said the committee had also suggested many changes in the laws, including giving freedom to states to make Minimum Support Price (MSP) system legal.

The panel had also suggested that the open-ended procurement policy should be discontinued and a model contract agreement should be formulated.

The report has no relevance now as the laws have been repealed but it would help in making policies for the agriculture sector in future, said Ghanwat, who is the President of Swatantra Bharat Party.

According to him, the committee has said that a "repeal or a long suspension of these laws would be unfair to the silent majority who support the farm laws." The panel favoured giving some flexibility in implementation and designs of the laws.

The bilateral interactions of the committee with the stakeholders demonstrated that only 13.3 per cent of the stakeholders were not in favour of the three laws. "Around 85.7 percent of the farmer organisations, representing more than 3.3 crore farmers, supported the laws."

The feedback received through online portal established that around two-thirds of the respondents were in favour of the laws. The feedback received through e-mails also showed that a majority support the laws.

Ghanwat said 40 unions, which had organised agitations against the laws under the banner of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), did not make any submission despite repeated requests.

On November 19, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the withdrawal of the three farm laws, saying the government could not convince protesting farmers about the benefits of reforms.

The repealing of the three farm legislations — Farmer's 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 — was one of the key demands of around 40 farmer unions protesting against these reforms at Delhi borders.

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