In a panel of experts constituted by the Supreme Court of India to study the three farm acts, has now claimed 86 percent of organisations representing more than 3 crore farmers supported the laws which had been repealed last year after month- long protest.
The report of the high-powered panel committee made the report public on Monday.
While releasing the report, Farmer leader and member of the committee Anil Ghanwat, said that while the observations of the committee hold little significance in terms of its impact on the laws as they have already been repealed, it is significant for policy makers and farmers in general.
The two other members of the committee Ashok Gulati, agricultural economist and former Chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices and Dr Parmod Kumar Joshi, Agricultural Economist, Director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute were not present on the occasion.
The Narendra Modi led Central government had introduced and passed the three farm laws — The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act — in 2020, which, after sustained protests, were finally rolled back in November 2021. While hearing a slew of petitions, the Supreme Court had appointed a three-member committee to engage with the agitating farmers and study the laws.
The report says the committee had reached out to 266 farm organisations, including the ones who were agitating. Similarly, the committee also received 19,027 representations on the dedicated portal and 1,520 emails.
The panel had submitted the report on March 19, 2021, in a sealed envelope to the Supreme Court. Ghanwat had written to the Chief Justice thrice, and Prime Minister Modi as well to release the report. Monday marked a year since the report was submitted following which Ghanwat decided to make it public.
The report further claimed that 73 farm organisations, which represented 3.83 crore farmers, had interacted with them either directly or through video links. Of the 73, 61 organisations, comprising 3.3 crore farmers, had supported the laws. Four organisations, representing 51 lakh farmers, had opposed it and seven, comprising 3.6 lakh farmers, wanted amendments.
“It should be mentioned, however, that despite repeated invitations, the agitated farmers’ organisations on the outskirts of Delhi did not participate in the discussions with the Committee during these interactive sessions with Farmers Organizations.” The Committee was informed that the organisations would rather have bilateral conversations with the government than present before the Committee. Their decision not to participate in the Committee’s deliberations is respected by the Committee. However, the Committee kept these concerns in mind while drafting its recommendations, as evidenced by media stories and conversations with the government,” the report reads.
Approximately two-thirds of the suggestions on the dedicated portal were in favour of the laws. According to the survey, only 27.5 percent of farmers sold their produce at the government mandated Minimum Support Price (MSP), with the majority hailing from Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh.
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