In the first government reaction on the recommendations of the Supreme Court-appointed three-member committee on farm laws, Kailash Choudhary, minister of state for agriculture, said the report will be taken up when a committee to deliberate on the demand to legalise the minimum support price (MSP) is formed.
In an exclusive conversation with News18.com, the minister said the recommendations will not go to waste. He also promised to discuss the farmers’ demand for a legal guarantee on MSP, adding the committee will be formed soon.
“Kisan ke hit ke kanoon the. They were formed after extensive deliberations with the stakeholders, including farmers,” he said, adding, “This committee’s (SC committee) recommendations too will be delved upon during the discussions of the committee on MSP, which is expected to be formed soon,” said the minister.
Choudhary maintained that the three farms laws that were passed in Parliament were in favour of farmers.
The three laws were 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.
The enactment of the farm laws led to a year-long agitation from farmers. The laws were repealed in November 2021.
“Now, the report states that farmers too believed that these were meant to uplift their lives,” the minister added.
Then why did the government not ask the court about it? “The member is telling that he wrote to the court to make the report public. Releasing the report is the prerogative of the court,” he said.
WHO RELEASED THE REPORT?
The SC committee was set up in January 2021. It submitted its report to the SC on March 19, 2021, but it is still to be made public by the court.
Anil Ghanwat, president of Shetkari Sangathan, a Maharashtra-based farmers’ union founded by Sharad Joshi, released the report of the three-member committee appointed by the SC to look into three farm laws. Ghanwat was one of the members and had written to the government and the court to release the report that had been with the court for a year.
“We were very disappointed when the central government repealed the laws,” Ghanwat told News18.com.
WHAT DOES IT SAY?
The report states that 73 farmer organisations made submissions to the panel. Of these, 61, representing 3.3 crore farmers, supported the farm laws fully.
It also recommended the abolition of the Essential Commodities Act 1995, and revisiting of MSP and procurement policy, with a cap on procurement for wheat and rice, to give the power to the state to decide the MSP of the crop it procures.