4 min read.Updated: 14 Dec 2021, 12:33 AM ISTAjit Ranade
There’s no clear way out of our farm sector bind without using market tools like futures and options
Ayear-long agitation by Indian farmers resulted in the three farm laws enacted last year being repealed. All the three laws supposedly enlarged the freedoms of farmers. The first one gave them the option of selling farm produce outside the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee-run mandi system. The second law promised freedom from arbitrary stocking (and hoarding) limits, while the third law allowed farmers to contract directly with corporate buyers if they so wished. In each case, their choice was enhanced, not reduced. Farmers were and are free to go with their old ways. Why then was there such a determined and ultimately successful opposition to these reformist laws, which merely intended to enhance freedoms? We do not have the space here to go into all the details of the farmer agitation’s political economy, nor to debate the fidelity of the lawmaking process to constitutional principles. Was it necessary to introduce far-reaching reforms through an ordinance, that too in the midst of a pandemic? Do reforms not work better if preceded by parliamentary discussion? Suffice to say that despite the freedom enhancing nature of the three farm laws, farmers were uneasy about what they did not say.
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