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What's Wrong with the Farm Bill

What's Wrong with the Farm Bill


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Food is what we eat day in and day out and it takes many forms: a pleasure, a necessity, an indulgence. A lot of people who love food think about it in many different ways too; how to cook it, where to get it, and who makes it best. But as Marion Nestle pointed out last night during her address to the participants of Global Gateways and Local Connections: Cities, Agriculture, and the Future of Food Systems conference in New York City, many don’t think about where it starts. Agriculture, Nestle admittedly told the crowd, is something that is so widely overlooked by our country (even by herself when she began her studies in the late eighties), but it’s time to start paying attention to it.

Ironically, just a couple of hours before her keynote speech, the Senate passed a five-year, $500 billion farm bill with bipartisan support, making Nestle’s address even more crucial and timely for everyone to hear. The 1,000-page document is agriculturally-focused and filled with hundreds of programs, statements, and clauses that any average citizen would not be able to understand, but, interestingly enough, has a huge impact on that one thing that the entire country needs, loves and enjoys: food.

The farm bill was created by our country’s government in the 1930’s, at a time when the depression had a heavy impact on farmers and their financial status. In an effort to protect the farmers, the government created a support system with congressional committees, agri-businesses, and the United States Department of Agriculture, which has now resulted in a considerable piece of legislation covering all sizes and scopes of the country’s agriculture, and in layman’s terms, food. For Nestle, an ideal farm bill would give affordable food for all, would help everyone make a decent living, promote local and sustainable food systems, fair trade, protect natural resources, and most importantly, promote healthy eating. What she explained yesterday and what you’d find out if you were able to understand it, is that it does close to none these things.

Nestle described farming in the early 20th century as “get big or get out,” when the number of crops went down and productivity went up. It was a time when mega-agriculture businesses started overtaking the country, creating less opportunity for small farming and diminishing the variety of health and specialty crops at the public’s fingertips. In her description of farming in our country today, Nestle noted the overwhelming existence of crops such as corn and soybeans, the negative implications with dairy farming, the limited amount of fruits and vegetables being grown, and the production of ethanol and the major “worldwide implications” it has.

Nestle went on to point out that the farm bill, unfortunately, is tightly linked with this kind of movement and favors big, intense agri-businesses and overproduction. Beyond its detrimental focus, the farm bill is bleeding in many other places as well. The massive document is “huge,” Nestle explained, covering all sorts of minute and complex programs that are difficult to understand and immense in numbers. She even took the time to point out absurd and odd parts of the bill, like the clause that states that TV and Film extras who have to bring pets to work do not fall under certain regulations (which, ironically, has nothing to do with food), and the Defense Department’s rider amendment regarding budget cuts (how did the Defense Department get in there?). She finished by saying that the bill is “profoundly undemocratic,” and unfortunately plays a huge role in not only our country’s farming but in the health of the nation. Its focus on big businesses and limited support of specialty crops is in direct correlation with the overproduction of calories and limited supply of food that is actually good for us.

For Nestle the answer is easy: She wants our agriculture policies and health policies to be more tightly linked. So many of our health problems, such as obesity, begin with one important factor: food, which starts with agriculture and so therefore should be considered in the farm bill. It’s alarming to think that such a colossal piece of paper plays such a huge role on our country and its health, yet has so many things wrong with it and is so widely overlooked. Nestle said that it’s time to start “voting with your fork,” and wants us to fix the farm bill. This movement is even more crucial for the cook. The most important tool used in cooking, and the wherewithal to get it, is all dependent on the farm bill and what it governs.

How many times have you thought about legislation or the government when you sat down to enjoy a meal or melted a piece of butter in a sauté pan? Whether or not you have, Nestle asks you to now.

For more information on the farm bill and how you can get involved, visit Nestle’s website Food Politics.

Anne Dolce is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @anniecdolce


What is there in farm laws that make them so contentious?

Thousands of farmers are at the Delhi border points with over 30 farmers’ unions threatening to intensify their agitation across the country if the government does not recall the three farm bills. Though their impact appears to be limited in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh mainly, the agitating farmers have received political support from all Opposition parties and the states ruled by them.

There are reports that there could be cracks appearing in the farmers’ unions with several factions open to the idea of calling off the protest if the government makes the Minimum Support Price (MSP) the minimum purchase price for the farm produce. On the other hand, there are other farmers’ unions which have extended support to the government favouring the three farm laws passed in September by Parliament. Talks between the farmers' unions and the government have failed to resolve the deadlock.

What are these farm laws and what they provide for?

These laws are -- The Farmers’ 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. They had first come in the month of June as the three Ordinances before being approved by Parliament during the Monsoon Session by a voice vote.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act provides for setting up a mechanism allowing the farmers to sell their farm produces outside the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs). Any licence-holder trader can buy the produce from the farmers at mutually agreed prices. This trade of farm produces will be free of mandi tax imposed by the state governments.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act allows farmers to do contract farming and market their produces freely.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act is an amendment to the existing Essential Commodities Act. This law now frees items such as foodgrains, pulses, edible oils and onion for trade except in extraordinary (read crisis) situations.

The government has presented these laws as reforms akin to the 1991-opening of the Indian economy linking it with the globalised markets. It has argued that the three laws open up new opportunities for the farmers so that they can earn more from their farm produces.

The government has said the new laws will help to strengthen basic farm sector infrastructure through greater private investments. Successive governments have found financial constraints in investing in farm and rural infrastructure. It is argued that with food markets growing exponentially in India, private players would make agriculture profitable for the farmers.

But farmers are worried over MSP assurance.

The MSP assurance has emerged as the main sticking point in the farmers’ protest. There is an apprehension among the farmers that allowing outside-APMC trade of farm produces would lead to lesser buying by the government agencies in the approved mandis.

The protesting farmers say the new laws would thus make the MSP system irrelevant and they would not have any assured income from their farming. Right now, the government announces fixed MSP for around two dozen crops. However, paddy, wheat and some pulses are the ones that are procured by the government agencies at the APMC mandis.

The working of the MSP system has been such over the years that it benefits only a handful of farmers at all-India level. The Shanta Kumar committee set up by the Narendra Modi government in 2015 said only six per cent farmers benefit from the MSP regime.

The catch here is that for farmers of some states such as Punjab and Haryana, the MSP system has worked well. In these two states procurement of paddy and wheat range around 75-80 per cent.

So, the fear that the MSP system may crumble and get dismantled after the new farm laws are implement has become a very emotive issue for the farmers of Punjab and Haryana. And, that is why they are the ones who are most vocal in their protest against the farm laws and demanding that the MSP should be made mandatory for both APMC and private mandis.

Why is the government reluctant?

The MSP system is politically sensitive and financially unviable for the government. Some economists have called the MSP system of India one of the costliest government food procurement programmes in the world.

There are around 7,000 APMC mandis across the country from where the government agencies including the Food Corporation of India (FCI) purchase farm produces. However, in a practical sense, only the paddy and wheat are procured by the FCI and other agencies for the want of fund. The FCI sells these foodgrains to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families through the Public Distribution System (PDS) at a concessionary rate. This is loss-making or welfare-oriented practice.

The MSPs have seen consistent increase making the FCI pay more for the farm produces and bear more losses as the PDS rates remain almost the same. Rising procurement by means the FCI godowns are overflowing, and rising MSP means that the FCI cannot sell its stocks in the international market at a profit. The government compensates the FCI for its losses, and at times sells foodgrains to some countries under an agreement.

The rising food bill under the existing MSP system of the government translates into pressure on the fiscal deficit in the annual budget. This is the reason why every government in the past several years has tried to find a way out.

Some states are unhappy with the new farm laws as it denies them the right to collect fees from outside-mandi trade of farm produces. The fee varies from 1-2 per cent to about 8-9 per cent in different states, which argue that they already have limited sources of revenue collection and are heavily dependent on the Centre for meeting their expenditure needs. This explains why states, particularly those ruled by the Opposition parties are supporter farmers’ protest over the new farm laws.


What is there in farm laws that make them so contentious?

Thousands of farmers are at the Delhi border points with over 30 farmers’ unions threatening to intensify their agitation across the country if the government does not recall the three farm bills. Though their impact appears to be limited in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh mainly, the agitating farmers have received political support from all Opposition parties and the states ruled by them.

There are reports that there could be cracks appearing in the farmers’ unions with several factions open to the idea of calling off the protest if the government makes the Minimum Support Price (MSP) the minimum purchase price for the farm produce. On the other hand, there are other farmers’ unions which have extended support to the government favouring the three farm laws passed in September by Parliament. Talks between the farmers' unions and the government have failed to resolve the deadlock.

What are these farm laws and what they provide for?

These laws are -- The Farmers’ 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. They had first come in the month of June as the three Ordinances before being approved by Parliament during the Monsoon Session by a voice vote.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act provides for setting up a mechanism allowing the farmers to sell their farm produces outside the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs). Any licence-holder trader can buy the produce from the farmers at mutually agreed prices. This trade of farm produces will be free of mandi tax imposed by the state governments.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act allows farmers to do contract farming and market their produces freely.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act is an amendment to the existing Essential Commodities Act. This law now frees items such as foodgrains, pulses, edible oils and onion for trade except in extraordinary (read crisis) situations.

The government has presented these laws as reforms akin to the 1991-opening of the Indian economy linking it with the globalised markets. It has argued that the three laws open up new opportunities for the farmers so that they can earn more from their farm produces.

The government has said the new laws will help to strengthen basic farm sector infrastructure through greater private investments. Successive governments have found financial constraints in investing in farm and rural infrastructure. It is argued that with food markets growing exponentially in India, private players would make agriculture profitable for the farmers.

But farmers are worried over MSP assurance.

The MSP assurance has emerged as the main sticking point in the farmers’ protest. There is an apprehension among the farmers that allowing outside-APMC trade of farm produces would lead to lesser buying by the government agencies in the approved mandis.

The protesting farmers say the new laws would thus make the MSP system irrelevant and they would not have any assured income from their farming. Right now, the government announces fixed MSP for around two dozen crops. However, paddy, wheat and some pulses are the ones that are procured by the government agencies at the APMC mandis.

The working of the MSP system has been such over the years that it benefits only a handful of farmers at all-India level. The Shanta Kumar committee set up by the Narendra Modi government in 2015 said only six per cent farmers benefit from the MSP regime.

The catch here is that for farmers of some states such as Punjab and Haryana, the MSP system has worked well. In these two states procurement of paddy and wheat range around 75-80 per cent.

So, the fear that the MSP system may crumble and get dismantled after the new farm laws are implement has become a very emotive issue for the farmers of Punjab and Haryana. And, that is why they are the ones who are most vocal in their protest against the farm laws and demanding that the MSP should be made mandatory for both APMC and private mandis.

Why is the government reluctant?

The MSP system is politically sensitive and financially unviable for the government. Some economists have called the MSP system of India one of the costliest government food procurement programmes in the world.

There are around 7,000 APMC mandis across the country from where the government agencies including the Food Corporation of India (FCI) purchase farm produces. However, in a practical sense, only the paddy and wheat are procured by the FCI and other agencies for the want of fund. The FCI sells these foodgrains to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families through the Public Distribution System (PDS) at a concessionary rate. This is loss-making or welfare-oriented practice.

The MSPs have seen consistent increase making the FCI pay more for the farm produces and bear more losses as the PDS rates remain almost the same. Rising procurement by means the FCI godowns are overflowing, and rising MSP means that the FCI cannot sell its stocks in the international market at a profit. The government compensates the FCI for its losses, and at times sells foodgrains to some countries under an agreement.

The rising food bill under the existing MSP system of the government translates into pressure on the fiscal deficit in the annual budget. This is the reason why every government in the past several years has tried to find a way out.

Some states are unhappy with the new farm laws as it denies them the right to collect fees from outside-mandi trade of farm produces. The fee varies from 1-2 per cent to about 8-9 per cent in different states, which argue that they already have limited sources of revenue collection and are heavily dependent on the Centre for meeting their expenditure needs. This explains why states, particularly those ruled by the Opposition parties are supporter farmers’ protest over the new farm laws.


What is there in farm laws that make them so contentious?

Thousands of farmers are at the Delhi border points with over 30 farmers’ unions threatening to intensify their agitation across the country if the government does not recall the three farm bills. Though their impact appears to be limited in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh mainly, the agitating farmers have received political support from all Opposition parties and the states ruled by them.

There are reports that there could be cracks appearing in the farmers’ unions with several factions open to the idea of calling off the protest if the government makes the Minimum Support Price (MSP) the minimum purchase price for the farm produce. On the other hand, there are other farmers’ unions which have extended support to the government favouring the three farm laws passed in September by Parliament. Talks between the farmers' unions and the government have failed to resolve the deadlock.

What are these farm laws and what they provide for?

These laws are -- The Farmers’ 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. They had first come in the month of June as the three Ordinances before being approved by Parliament during the Monsoon Session by a voice vote.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act provides for setting up a mechanism allowing the farmers to sell their farm produces outside the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs). Any licence-holder trader can buy the produce from the farmers at mutually agreed prices. This trade of farm produces will be free of mandi tax imposed by the state governments.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act allows farmers to do contract farming and market their produces freely.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act is an amendment to the existing Essential Commodities Act. This law now frees items such as foodgrains, pulses, edible oils and onion for trade except in extraordinary (read crisis) situations.

The government has presented these laws as reforms akin to the 1991-opening of the Indian economy linking it with the globalised markets. It has argued that the three laws open up new opportunities for the farmers so that they can earn more from their farm produces.

The government has said the new laws will help to strengthen basic farm sector infrastructure through greater private investments. Successive governments have found financial constraints in investing in farm and rural infrastructure. It is argued that with food markets growing exponentially in India, private players would make agriculture profitable for the farmers.

But farmers are worried over MSP assurance.

The MSP assurance has emerged as the main sticking point in the farmers’ protest. There is an apprehension among the farmers that allowing outside-APMC trade of farm produces would lead to lesser buying by the government agencies in the approved mandis.

The protesting farmers say the new laws would thus make the MSP system irrelevant and they would not have any assured income from their farming. Right now, the government announces fixed MSP for around two dozen crops. However, paddy, wheat and some pulses are the ones that are procured by the government agencies at the APMC mandis.

The working of the MSP system has been such over the years that it benefits only a handful of farmers at all-India level. The Shanta Kumar committee set up by the Narendra Modi government in 2015 said only six per cent farmers benefit from the MSP regime.

The catch here is that for farmers of some states such as Punjab and Haryana, the MSP system has worked well. In these two states procurement of paddy and wheat range around 75-80 per cent.

So, the fear that the MSP system may crumble and get dismantled after the new farm laws are implement has become a very emotive issue for the farmers of Punjab and Haryana. And, that is why they are the ones who are most vocal in their protest against the farm laws and demanding that the MSP should be made mandatory for both APMC and private mandis.

Why is the government reluctant?

The MSP system is politically sensitive and financially unviable for the government. Some economists have called the MSP system of India one of the costliest government food procurement programmes in the world.

There are around 7,000 APMC mandis across the country from where the government agencies including the Food Corporation of India (FCI) purchase farm produces. However, in a practical sense, only the paddy and wheat are procured by the FCI and other agencies for the want of fund. The FCI sells these foodgrains to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families through the Public Distribution System (PDS) at a concessionary rate. This is loss-making or welfare-oriented practice.

The MSPs have seen consistent increase making the FCI pay more for the farm produces and bear more losses as the PDS rates remain almost the same. Rising procurement by means the FCI godowns are overflowing, and rising MSP means that the FCI cannot sell its stocks in the international market at a profit. The government compensates the FCI for its losses, and at times sells foodgrains to some countries under an agreement.

The rising food bill under the existing MSP system of the government translates into pressure on the fiscal deficit in the annual budget. This is the reason why every government in the past several years has tried to find a way out.

Some states are unhappy with the new farm laws as it denies them the right to collect fees from outside-mandi trade of farm produces. The fee varies from 1-2 per cent to about 8-9 per cent in different states, which argue that they already have limited sources of revenue collection and are heavily dependent on the Centre for meeting their expenditure needs. This explains why states, particularly those ruled by the Opposition parties are supporter farmers’ protest over the new farm laws.


What is there in farm laws that make them so contentious?

Thousands of farmers are at the Delhi border points with over 30 farmers’ unions threatening to intensify their agitation across the country if the government does not recall the three farm bills. Though their impact appears to be limited in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh mainly, the agitating farmers have received political support from all Opposition parties and the states ruled by them.

There are reports that there could be cracks appearing in the farmers’ unions with several factions open to the idea of calling off the protest if the government makes the Minimum Support Price (MSP) the minimum purchase price for the farm produce. On the other hand, there are other farmers’ unions which have extended support to the government favouring the three farm laws passed in September by Parliament. Talks between the farmers' unions and the government have failed to resolve the deadlock.

What are these farm laws and what they provide for?

These laws are -- The Farmers’ 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. They had first come in the month of June as the three Ordinances before being approved by Parliament during the Monsoon Session by a voice vote.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act provides for setting up a mechanism allowing the farmers to sell their farm produces outside the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs). Any licence-holder trader can buy the produce from the farmers at mutually agreed prices. This trade of farm produces will be free of mandi tax imposed by the state governments.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act allows farmers to do contract farming and market their produces freely.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act is an amendment to the existing Essential Commodities Act. This law now frees items such as foodgrains, pulses, edible oils and onion for trade except in extraordinary (read crisis) situations.

The government has presented these laws as reforms akin to the 1991-opening of the Indian economy linking it with the globalised markets. It has argued that the three laws open up new opportunities for the farmers so that they can earn more from their farm produces.

The government has said the new laws will help to strengthen basic farm sector infrastructure through greater private investments. Successive governments have found financial constraints in investing in farm and rural infrastructure. It is argued that with food markets growing exponentially in India, private players would make agriculture profitable for the farmers.

But farmers are worried over MSP assurance.

The MSP assurance has emerged as the main sticking point in the farmers’ protest. There is an apprehension among the farmers that allowing outside-APMC trade of farm produces would lead to lesser buying by the government agencies in the approved mandis.

The protesting farmers say the new laws would thus make the MSP system irrelevant and they would not have any assured income from their farming. Right now, the government announces fixed MSP for around two dozen crops. However, paddy, wheat and some pulses are the ones that are procured by the government agencies at the APMC mandis.

The working of the MSP system has been such over the years that it benefits only a handful of farmers at all-India level. The Shanta Kumar committee set up by the Narendra Modi government in 2015 said only six per cent farmers benefit from the MSP regime.

The catch here is that for farmers of some states such as Punjab and Haryana, the MSP system has worked well. In these two states procurement of paddy and wheat range around 75-80 per cent.

So, the fear that the MSP system may crumble and get dismantled after the new farm laws are implement has become a very emotive issue for the farmers of Punjab and Haryana. And, that is why they are the ones who are most vocal in their protest against the farm laws and demanding that the MSP should be made mandatory for both APMC and private mandis.

Why is the government reluctant?

The MSP system is politically sensitive and financially unviable for the government. Some economists have called the MSP system of India one of the costliest government food procurement programmes in the world.

There are around 7,000 APMC mandis across the country from where the government agencies including the Food Corporation of India (FCI) purchase farm produces. However, in a practical sense, only the paddy and wheat are procured by the FCI and other agencies for the want of fund. The FCI sells these foodgrains to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families through the Public Distribution System (PDS) at a concessionary rate. This is loss-making or welfare-oriented practice.

The MSPs have seen consistent increase making the FCI pay more for the farm produces and bear more losses as the PDS rates remain almost the same. Rising procurement by means the FCI godowns are overflowing, and rising MSP means that the FCI cannot sell its stocks in the international market at a profit. The government compensates the FCI for its losses, and at times sells foodgrains to some countries under an agreement.

The rising food bill under the existing MSP system of the government translates into pressure on the fiscal deficit in the annual budget. This is the reason why every government in the past several years has tried to find a way out.

Some states are unhappy with the new farm laws as it denies them the right to collect fees from outside-mandi trade of farm produces. The fee varies from 1-2 per cent to about 8-9 per cent in different states, which argue that they already have limited sources of revenue collection and are heavily dependent on the Centre for meeting their expenditure needs. This explains why states, particularly those ruled by the Opposition parties are supporter farmers’ protest over the new farm laws.


What is there in farm laws that make them so contentious?

Thousands of farmers are at the Delhi border points with over 30 farmers’ unions threatening to intensify their agitation across the country if the government does not recall the three farm bills. Though their impact appears to be limited in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh mainly, the agitating farmers have received political support from all Opposition parties and the states ruled by them.

There are reports that there could be cracks appearing in the farmers’ unions with several factions open to the idea of calling off the protest if the government makes the Minimum Support Price (MSP) the minimum purchase price for the farm produce. On the other hand, there are other farmers’ unions which have extended support to the government favouring the three farm laws passed in September by Parliament. Talks between the farmers' unions and the government have failed to resolve the deadlock.

What are these farm laws and what they provide for?

These laws are -- The Farmers’ 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. They had first come in the month of June as the three Ordinances before being approved by Parliament during the Monsoon Session by a voice vote.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act provides for setting up a mechanism allowing the farmers to sell their farm produces outside the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs). Any licence-holder trader can buy the produce from the farmers at mutually agreed prices. This trade of farm produces will be free of mandi tax imposed by the state governments.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act allows farmers to do contract farming and market their produces freely.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act is an amendment to the existing Essential Commodities Act. This law now frees items such as foodgrains, pulses, edible oils and onion for trade except in extraordinary (read crisis) situations.

The government has presented these laws as reforms akin to the 1991-opening of the Indian economy linking it with the globalised markets. It has argued that the three laws open up new opportunities for the farmers so that they can earn more from their farm produces.

The government has said the new laws will help to strengthen basic farm sector infrastructure through greater private investments. Successive governments have found financial constraints in investing in farm and rural infrastructure. It is argued that with food markets growing exponentially in India, private players would make agriculture profitable for the farmers.

But farmers are worried over MSP assurance.

The MSP assurance has emerged as the main sticking point in the farmers’ protest. There is an apprehension among the farmers that allowing outside-APMC trade of farm produces would lead to lesser buying by the government agencies in the approved mandis.

The protesting farmers say the new laws would thus make the MSP system irrelevant and they would not have any assured income from their farming. Right now, the government announces fixed MSP for around two dozen crops. However, paddy, wheat and some pulses are the ones that are procured by the government agencies at the APMC mandis.

The working of the MSP system has been such over the years that it benefits only a handful of farmers at all-India level. The Shanta Kumar committee set up by the Narendra Modi government in 2015 said only six per cent farmers benefit from the MSP regime.

The catch here is that for farmers of some states such as Punjab and Haryana, the MSP system has worked well. In these two states procurement of paddy and wheat range around 75-80 per cent.

So, the fear that the MSP system may crumble and get dismantled after the new farm laws are implement has become a very emotive issue for the farmers of Punjab and Haryana. And, that is why they are the ones who are most vocal in their protest against the farm laws and demanding that the MSP should be made mandatory for both APMC and private mandis.

Why is the government reluctant?

The MSP system is politically sensitive and financially unviable for the government. Some economists have called the MSP system of India one of the costliest government food procurement programmes in the world.

There are around 7,000 APMC mandis across the country from where the government agencies including the Food Corporation of India (FCI) purchase farm produces. However, in a practical sense, only the paddy and wheat are procured by the FCI and other agencies for the want of fund. The FCI sells these foodgrains to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families through the Public Distribution System (PDS) at a concessionary rate. This is loss-making or welfare-oriented practice.

The MSPs have seen consistent increase making the FCI pay more for the farm produces and bear more losses as the PDS rates remain almost the same. Rising procurement by means the FCI godowns are overflowing, and rising MSP means that the FCI cannot sell its stocks in the international market at a profit. The government compensates the FCI for its losses, and at times sells foodgrains to some countries under an agreement.

The rising food bill under the existing MSP system of the government translates into pressure on the fiscal deficit in the annual budget. This is the reason why every government in the past several years has tried to find a way out.

Some states are unhappy with the new farm laws as it denies them the right to collect fees from outside-mandi trade of farm produces. The fee varies from 1-2 per cent to about 8-9 per cent in different states, which argue that they already have limited sources of revenue collection and are heavily dependent on the Centre for meeting their expenditure needs. This explains why states, particularly those ruled by the Opposition parties are supporter farmers’ protest over the new farm laws.


What is there in farm laws that make them so contentious?

Thousands of farmers are at the Delhi border points with over 30 farmers’ unions threatening to intensify their agitation across the country if the government does not recall the three farm bills. Though their impact appears to be limited in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh mainly, the agitating farmers have received political support from all Opposition parties and the states ruled by them.

There are reports that there could be cracks appearing in the farmers’ unions with several factions open to the idea of calling off the protest if the government makes the Minimum Support Price (MSP) the minimum purchase price for the farm produce. On the other hand, there are other farmers’ unions which have extended support to the government favouring the three farm laws passed in September by Parliament. Talks between the farmers' unions and the government have failed to resolve the deadlock.

What are these farm laws and what they provide for?

These laws are -- The Farmers’ 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. They had first come in the month of June as the three Ordinances before being approved by Parliament during the Monsoon Session by a voice vote.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act provides for setting up a mechanism allowing the farmers to sell their farm produces outside the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs). Any licence-holder trader can buy the produce from the farmers at mutually agreed prices. This trade of farm produces will be free of mandi tax imposed by the state governments.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act allows farmers to do contract farming and market their produces freely.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act is an amendment to the existing Essential Commodities Act. This law now frees items such as foodgrains, pulses, edible oils and onion for trade except in extraordinary (read crisis) situations.

The government has presented these laws as reforms akin to the 1991-opening of the Indian economy linking it with the globalised markets. It has argued that the three laws open up new opportunities for the farmers so that they can earn more from their farm produces.

The government has said the new laws will help to strengthen basic farm sector infrastructure through greater private investments. Successive governments have found financial constraints in investing in farm and rural infrastructure. It is argued that with food markets growing exponentially in India, private players would make agriculture profitable for the farmers.

But farmers are worried over MSP assurance.

The MSP assurance has emerged as the main sticking point in the farmers’ protest. There is an apprehension among the farmers that allowing outside-APMC trade of farm produces would lead to lesser buying by the government agencies in the approved mandis.

The protesting farmers say the new laws would thus make the MSP system irrelevant and they would not have any assured income from their farming. Right now, the government announces fixed MSP for around two dozen crops. However, paddy, wheat and some pulses are the ones that are procured by the government agencies at the APMC mandis.

The working of the MSP system has been such over the years that it benefits only a handful of farmers at all-India level. The Shanta Kumar committee set up by the Narendra Modi government in 2015 said only six per cent farmers benefit from the MSP regime.

The catch here is that for farmers of some states such as Punjab and Haryana, the MSP system has worked well. In these two states procurement of paddy and wheat range around 75-80 per cent.

So, the fear that the MSP system may crumble and get dismantled after the new farm laws are implement has become a very emotive issue for the farmers of Punjab and Haryana. And, that is why they are the ones who are most vocal in their protest against the farm laws and demanding that the MSP should be made mandatory for both APMC and private mandis.

Why is the government reluctant?

The MSP system is politically sensitive and financially unviable for the government. Some economists have called the MSP system of India one of the costliest government food procurement programmes in the world.

There are around 7,000 APMC mandis across the country from where the government agencies including the Food Corporation of India (FCI) purchase farm produces. However, in a practical sense, only the paddy and wheat are procured by the FCI and other agencies for the want of fund. The FCI sells these foodgrains to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families through the Public Distribution System (PDS) at a concessionary rate. This is loss-making or welfare-oriented practice.

The MSPs have seen consistent increase making the FCI pay more for the farm produces and bear more losses as the PDS rates remain almost the same. Rising procurement by means the FCI godowns are overflowing, and rising MSP means that the FCI cannot sell its stocks in the international market at a profit. The government compensates the FCI for its losses, and at times sells foodgrains to some countries under an agreement.

The rising food bill under the existing MSP system of the government translates into pressure on the fiscal deficit in the annual budget. This is the reason why every government in the past several years has tried to find a way out.

Some states are unhappy with the new farm laws as it denies them the right to collect fees from outside-mandi trade of farm produces. The fee varies from 1-2 per cent to about 8-9 per cent in different states, which argue that they already have limited sources of revenue collection and are heavily dependent on the Centre for meeting their expenditure needs. This explains why states, particularly those ruled by the Opposition parties are supporter farmers’ protest over the new farm laws.


What is there in farm laws that make them so contentious?

Thousands of farmers are at the Delhi border points with over 30 farmers’ unions threatening to intensify their agitation across the country if the government does not recall the three farm bills. Though their impact appears to be limited in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh mainly, the agitating farmers have received political support from all Opposition parties and the states ruled by them.

There are reports that there could be cracks appearing in the farmers’ unions with several factions open to the idea of calling off the protest if the government makes the Minimum Support Price (MSP) the minimum purchase price for the farm produce. On the other hand, there are other farmers’ unions which have extended support to the government favouring the three farm laws passed in September by Parliament. Talks between the farmers' unions and the government have failed to resolve the deadlock.

What are these farm laws and what they provide for?

These laws are -- The Farmers’ 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. They had first come in the month of June as the three Ordinances before being approved by Parliament during the Monsoon Session by a voice vote.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act provides for setting up a mechanism allowing the farmers to sell their farm produces outside the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs). Any licence-holder trader can buy the produce from the farmers at mutually agreed prices. This trade of farm produces will be free of mandi tax imposed by the state governments.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act allows farmers to do contract farming and market their produces freely.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act is an amendment to the existing Essential Commodities Act. This law now frees items such as foodgrains, pulses, edible oils and onion for trade except in extraordinary (read crisis) situations.

The government has presented these laws as reforms akin to the 1991-opening of the Indian economy linking it with the globalised markets. It has argued that the three laws open up new opportunities for the farmers so that they can earn more from their farm produces.

The government has said the new laws will help to strengthen basic farm sector infrastructure through greater private investments. Successive governments have found financial constraints in investing in farm and rural infrastructure. It is argued that with food markets growing exponentially in India, private players would make agriculture profitable for the farmers.

But farmers are worried over MSP assurance.

The MSP assurance has emerged as the main sticking point in the farmers’ protest. There is an apprehension among the farmers that allowing outside-APMC trade of farm produces would lead to lesser buying by the government agencies in the approved mandis.

The protesting farmers say the new laws would thus make the MSP system irrelevant and they would not have any assured income from their farming. Right now, the government announces fixed MSP for around two dozen crops. However, paddy, wheat and some pulses are the ones that are procured by the government agencies at the APMC mandis.

The working of the MSP system has been such over the years that it benefits only a handful of farmers at all-India level. The Shanta Kumar committee set up by the Narendra Modi government in 2015 said only six per cent farmers benefit from the MSP regime.

The catch here is that for farmers of some states such as Punjab and Haryana, the MSP system has worked well. In these two states procurement of paddy and wheat range around 75-80 per cent.

So, the fear that the MSP system may crumble and get dismantled after the new farm laws are implement has become a very emotive issue for the farmers of Punjab and Haryana. And, that is why they are the ones who are most vocal in their protest against the farm laws and demanding that the MSP should be made mandatory for both APMC and private mandis.

Why is the government reluctant?

The MSP system is politically sensitive and financially unviable for the government. Some economists have called the MSP system of India one of the costliest government food procurement programmes in the world.

There are around 7,000 APMC mandis across the country from where the government agencies including the Food Corporation of India (FCI) purchase farm produces. However, in a practical sense, only the paddy and wheat are procured by the FCI and other agencies for the want of fund. The FCI sells these foodgrains to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families through the Public Distribution System (PDS) at a concessionary rate. This is loss-making or welfare-oriented practice.

The MSPs have seen consistent increase making the FCI pay more for the farm produces and bear more losses as the PDS rates remain almost the same. Rising procurement by means the FCI godowns are overflowing, and rising MSP means that the FCI cannot sell its stocks in the international market at a profit. The government compensates the FCI for its losses, and at times sells foodgrains to some countries under an agreement.

The rising food bill under the existing MSP system of the government translates into pressure on the fiscal deficit in the annual budget. This is the reason why every government in the past several years has tried to find a way out.

Some states are unhappy with the new farm laws as it denies them the right to collect fees from outside-mandi trade of farm produces. The fee varies from 1-2 per cent to about 8-9 per cent in different states, which argue that they already have limited sources of revenue collection and are heavily dependent on the Centre for meeting their expenditure needs. This explains why states, particularly those ruled by the Opposition parties are supporter farmers’ protest over the new farm laws.


What is there in farm laws that make them so contentious?

Thousands of farmers are at the Delhi border points with over 30 farmers’ unions threatening to intensify their agitation across the country if the government does not recall the three farm bills. Though their impact appears to be limited in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh mainly, the agitating farmers have received political support from all Opposition parties and the states ruled by them.

There are reports that there could be cracks appearing in the farmers’ unions with several factions open to the idea of calling off the protest if the government makes the Minimum Support Price (MSP) the minimum purchase price for the farm produce. On the other hand, there are other farmers’ unions which have extended support to the government favouring the three farm laws passed in September by Parliament. Talks between the farmers' unions and the government have failed to resolve the deadlock.

What are these farm laws and what they provide for?

These laws are -- The Farmers’ 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. They had first come in the month of June as the three Ordinances before being approved by Parliament during the Monsoon Session by a voice vote.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act provides for setting up a mechanism allowing the farmers to sell their farm produces outside the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs). Any licence-holder trader can buy the produce from the farmers at mutually agreed prices. This trade of farm produces will be free of mandi tax imposed by the state governments.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act allows farmers to do contract farming and market their produces freely.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act is an amendment to the existing Essential Commodities Act. This law now frees items such as foodgrains, pulses, edible oils and onion for trade except in extraordinary (read crisis) situations.

The government has presented these laws as reforms akin to the 1991-opening of the Indian economy linking it with the globalised markets. It has argued that the three laws open up new opportunities for the farmers so that they can earn more from their farm produces.

The government has said the new laws will help to strengthen basic farm sector infrastructure through greater private investments. Successive governments have found financial constraints in investing in farm and rural infrastructure. It is argued that with food markets growing exponentially in India, private players would make agriculture profitable for the farmers.

But farmers are worried over MSP assurance.

The MSP assurance has emerged as the main sticking point in the farmers’ protest. There is an apprehension among the farmers that allowing outside-APMC trade of farm produces would lead to lesser buying by the government agencies in the approved mandis.

The protesting farmers say the new laws would thus make the MSP system irrelevant and they would not have any assured income from their farming. Right now, the government announces fixed MSP for around two dozen crops. However, paddy, wheat and some pulses are the ones that are procured by the government agencies at the APMC mandis.

The working of the MSP system has been such over the years that it benefits only a handful of farmers at all-India level. The Shanta Kumar committee set up by the Narendra Modi government in 2015 said only six per cent farmers benefit from the MSP regime.

The catch here is that for farmers of some states such as Punjab and Haryana, the MSP system has worked well. In these two states procurement of paddy and wheat range around 75-80 per cent.

So, the fear that the MSP system may crumble and get dismantled after the new farm laws are implement has become a very emotive issue for the farmers of Punjab and Haryana. And, that is why they are the ones who are most vocal in their protest against the farm laws and demanding that the MSP should be made mandatory for both APMC and private mandis.

Why is the government reluctant?

The MSP system is politically sensitive and financially unviable for the government. Some economists have called the MSP system of India one of the costliest government food procurement programmes in the world.

There are around 7,000 APMC mandis across the country from where the government agencies including the Food Corporation of India (FCI) purchase farm produces. However, in a practical sense, only the paddy and wheat are procured by the FCI and other agencies for the want of fund. The FCI sells these foodgrains to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families through the Public Distribution System (PDS) at a concessionary rate. This is loss-making or welfare-oriented practice.

The MSPs have seen consistent increase making the FCI pay more for the farm produces and bear more losses as the PDS rates remain almost the same. Rising procurement by means the FCI godowns are overflowing, and rising MSP means that the FCI cannot sell its stocks in the international market at a profit. The government compensates the FCI for its losses, and at times sells foodgrains to some countries under an agreement.

The rising food bill under the existing MSP system of the government translates into pressure on the fiscal deficit in the annual budget. This is the reason why every government in the past several years has tried to find a way out.

Some states are unhappy with the new farm laws as it denies them the right to collect fees from outside-mandi trade of farm produces. The fee varies from 1-2 per cent to about 8-9 per cent in different states, which argue that they already have limited sources of revenue collection and are heavily dependent on the Centre for meeting their expenditure needs. This explains why states, particularly those ruled by the Opposition parties are supporter farmers’ protest over the new farm laws.


What is there in farm laws that make them so contentious?

Thousands of farmers are at the Delhi border points with over 30 farmers’ unions threatening to intensify their agitation across the country if the government does not recall the three farm bills. Though their impact appears to be limited in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh mainly, the agitating farmers have received political support from all Opposition parties and the states ruled by them.

There are reports that there could be cracks appearing in the farmers’ unions with several factions open to the idea of calling off the protest if the government makes the Minimum Support Price (MSP) the minimum purchase price for the farm produce. On the other hand, there are other farmers’ unions which have extended support to the government favouring the three farm laws passed in September by Parliament. Talks between the farmers' unions and the government have failed to resolve the deadlock.

What are these farm laws and what they provide for?

These laws are -- The Farmers’ 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. They had first come in the month of June as the three Ordinances before being approved by Parliament during the Monsoon Session by a voice vote.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act provides for setting up a mechanism allowing the farmers to sell their farm produces outside the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs). Any licence-holder trader can buy the produce from the farmers at mutually agreed prices. This trade of farm produces will be free of mandi tax imposed by the state governments.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act allows farmers to do contract farming and market their produces freely.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act is an amendment to the existing Essential Commodities Act. This law now frees items such as foodgrains, pulses, edible oils and onion for trade except in extraordinary (read crisis) situations.

The government has presented these laws as reforms akin to the 1991-opening of the Indian economy linking it with the globalised markets. It has argued that the three laws open up new opportunities for the farmers so that they can earn more from their farm produces.

The government has said the new laws will help to strengthen basic farm sector infrastructure through greater private investments. Successive governments have found financial constraints in investing in farm and rural infrastructure. It is argued that with food markets growing exponentially in India, private players would make agriculture profitable for the farmers.

But farmers are worried over MSP assurance.

The MSP assurance has emerged as the main sticking point in the farmers’ protest. There is an apprehension among the farmers that allowing outside-APMC trade of farm produces would lead to lesser buying by the government agencies in the approved mandis.

The protesting farmers say the new laws would thus make the MSP system irrelevant and they would not have any assured income from their farming. Right now, the government announces fixed MSP for around two dozen crops. However, paddy, wheat and some pulses are the ones that are procured by the government agencies at the APMC mandis.

The working of the MSP system has been such over the years that it benefits only a handful of farmers at all-India level. The Shanta Kumar committee set up by the Narendra Modi government in 2015 said only six per cent farmers benefit from the MSP regime.

The catch here is that for farmers of some states such as Punjab and Haryana, the MSP system has worked well. In these two states procurement of paddy and wheat range around 75-80 per cent.

So, the fear that the MSP system may crumble and get dismantled after the new farm laws are implement has become a very emotive issue for the farmers of Punjab and Haryana. And, that is why they are the ones who are most vocal in their protest against the farm laws and demanding that the MSP should be made mandatory for both APMC and private mandis.

Why is the government reluctant?

The MSP system is politically sensitive and financially unviable for the government. Some economists have called the MSP system of India one of the costliest government food procurement programmes in the world.

There are around 7,000 APMC mandis across the country from where the government agencies including the Food Corporation of India (FCI) purchase farm produces. However, in a practical sense, only the paddy and wheat are procured by the FCI and other agencies for the want of fund. The FCI sells these foodgrains to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families through the Public Distribution System (PDS) at a concessionary rate. This is loss-making or welfare-oriented practice.

The MSPs have seen consistent increase making the FCI pay more for the farm produces and bear more losses as the PDS rates remain almost the same. Rising procurement by means the FCI godowns are overflowing, and rising MSP means that the FCI cannot sell its stocks in the international market at a profit. The government compensates the FCI for its losses, and at times sells foodgrains to some countries under an agreement.

The rising food bill under the existing MSP system of the government translates into pressure on the fiscal deficit in the annual budget. This is the reason why every government in the past several years has tried to find a way out.

Some states are unhappy with the new farm laws as it denies them the right to collect fees from outside-mandi trade of farm produces. The fee varies from 1-2 per cent to about 8-9 per cent in different states, which argue that they already have limited sources of revenue collection and are heavily dependent on the Centre for meeting their expenditure needs. This explains why states, particularly those ruled by the Opposition parties are supporter farmers’ protest over the new farm laws.


What is there in farm laws that make them so contentious?

Thousands of farmers are at the Delhi border points with over 30 farmers’ unions threatening to intensify their agitation across the country if the government does not recall the three farm bills. Though their impact appears to be limited in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh mainly, the agitating farmers have received political support from all Opposition parties and the states ruled by them.

There are reports that there could be cracks appearing in the farmers’ unions with several factions open to the idea of calling off the protest if the government makes the Minimum Support Price (MSP) the minimum purchase price for the farm produce. On the other hand, there are other farmers’ unions which have extended support to the government favouring the three farm laws passed in September by Parliament. Talks between the farmers' unions and the government have failed to resolve the deadlock.

What are these farm laws and what they provide for?

These laws are -- The Farmers’ 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. They had first come in the month of June as the three Ordinances before being approved by Parliament during the Monsoon Session by a voice vote.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act provides for setting up a mechanism allowing the farmers to sell their farm produces outside the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs). Any licence-holder trader can buy the produce from the farmers at mutually agreed prices. This trade of farm produces will be free of mandi tax imposed by the state governments.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act allows farmers to do contract farming and market their produces freely.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act is an amendment to the existing Essential Commodities Act. This law now frees items such as foodgrains, pulses, edible oils and onion for trade except in extraordinary (read crisis) situations.

The government has presented these laws as reforms akin to the 1991-opening of the Indian economy linking it with the globalised markets. It has argued that the three laws open up new opportunities for the farmers so that they can earn more from their farm produces.

The government has said the new laws will help to strengthen basic farm sector infrastructure through greater private investments. Successive governments have found financial constraints in investing in farm and rural infrastructure. It is argued that with food markets growing exponentially in India, private players would make agriculture profitable for the farmers.

But farmers are worried over MSP assurance.

The MSP assurance has emerged as the main sticking point in the farmers’ protest. There is an apprehension among the farmers that allowing outside-APMC trade of farm produces would lead to lesser buying by the government agencies in the approved mandis.

The protesting farmers say the new laws would thus make the MSP system irrelevant and they would not have any assured income from their farming. Right now, the government announces fixed MSP for around two dozen crops. However, paddy, wheat and some pulses are the ones that are procured by the government agencies at the APMC mandis.

The working of the MSP system has been such over the years that it benefits only a handful of farmers at all-India level. The Shanta Kumar committee set up by the Narendra Modi government in 2015 said only six per cent farmers benefit from the MSP regime.

The catch here is that for farmers of some states such as Punjab and Haryana, the MSP system has worked well. In these two states procurement of paddy and wheat range around 75-80 per cent.

So, the fear that the MSP system may crumble and get dismantled after the new farm laws are implement has become a very emotive issue for the farmers of Punjab and Haryana. And, that is why they are the ones who are most vocal in their protest against the farm laws and demanding that the MSP should be made mandatory for both APMC and private mandis.

Why is the government reluctant?

The MSP system is politically sensitive and financially unviable for the government. Some economists have called the MSP system of India one of the costliest government food procurement programmes in the world.

There are around 7,000 APMC mandis across the country from where the government agencies including the Food Corporation of India (FCI) purchase farm produces. However, in a practical sense, only the paddy and wheat are procured by the FCI and other agencies for the want of fund. The FCI sells these foodgrains to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families through the Public Distribution System (PDS) at a concessionary rate. This is loss-making or welfare-oriented practice.

The MSPs have seen consistent increase making the FCI pay more for the farm produces and bear more losses as the PDS rates remain almost the same. Rising procurement by means the FCI godowns are overflowing, and rising MSP means that the FCI cannot sell its stocks in the international market at a profit. The government compensates the FCI for its losses, and at times sells foodgrains to some countries under an agreement.

The rising food bill under the existing MSP system of the government translates into pressure on the fiscal deficit in the annual budget. This is the reason why every government in the past several years has tried to find a way out.

Some states are unhappy with the new farm laws as it denies them the right to collect fees from outside-mandi trade of farm produces. The fee varies from 1-2 per cent to about 8-9 per cent in different states, which argue that they already have limited sources of revenue collection and are heavily dependent on the Centre for meeting their expenditure needs. This explains why states, particularly those ruled by the Opposition parties are supporter farmers’ protest over the new farm laws.