The agriculture reforms brought by the Congress government in Rajasthan to counter the Centre’s new farm laws are silent about enforcing the minimum support price (MSP) in crop sales which take place inside and outside the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis.
Although, one of the bills in Rajasthan does speak about enforcing the MSP, but it is only limited to contract farming, reports Indian Express.
Unlike Rajasthan, Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in Punjab has defined the enforcement of MSP for the purchase of two crops- wheat and paddy. “No sale or purchase of wheat or paddy shall be valid unless the price paid for such agricultural produce is equal to, or greater than, the Minimum Support Price announced by the Central Government for that crop,” states the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2020.
Meanwhile, in Rajasthan, limiting the provision of MSP to contract farming, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2020 has a provision for punishment for those who compel a farmer to sell his produce below the MSP.
The other Bill tabled in the Rajasthan Assembly on Saturday named- The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2020 does not state that purchase below the MSP will be deemed as harassment of farmers but such a violation will be punishable by imprisonment or fine or both. However, it does not mention any specific crops as is the case with the law in Punjab.
Reportedly, Rajasthan-based farmers sell their produce to mandis as compared to contract farming, stated farmer leaders
“We have had no formal registration of contract farming since 2005, when contract farming as a provision was inculcated in the Rajasthan APMC Act. At present, the purchasing in Rajasthan is primarily from the APMC mandi mechanism and often farmers get prices even higher than the MSP at mandis. The new bill is in farmers’ interest,” Ashu Chaudhary, additional director, Agricultural Marketing Department, Rajasthan told Indian Express.