BJP's Kisan Morcha National General Secretary Dr Anil Bonde on Saturday demanded that the Maharashtra government must accept the Centre's farm sector reforms as they are and implement them in the state.
According to an official statement from BJP, the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the state tried to make amendments in the agricultural laws enacted by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government in the Centre. However, the proposed alterations are in fact only minor changes, it said.
While opposing the Centre's agricultural reforms, the state government tabled three bills in the recently concluded monsoon session, said Dr Anil Bonde. The state government has also invited suggestions for the same. However, on studying these bills, it reveals that the Maha Vikas Aghadi government seems to have adopted the reforms as it is, but to show its uniqueness has made a few minor changes. The Shiv Sena, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, who had been opposing the reforms, have finally shown their late wisdom in accepting them for the state. If both the Congress and the NCP were in favour of the reforms, they must clarify why they had opposed it and tried to create confusion in the minds of the farmers for so many days. There are several discrepancies in the state government's proposed changes and hence the state government must implement the reforms for the betterment of the farmers, he added.
The national general secretary further said that the changes proposed by the state government in the draft proposal have contradictory provisions. One of the sections of the reform states - purchase of agricultural produce at a price lower than the MSP will be penalised, whereas the other section states that if there is a purchase agreement for two years, then the rate at which the agricultural produce will be sold by the farmer will be decided by mutual consent, that is here the MSP will not be applicable.
Dr Bonde further pointed out that there is a provision to imprison the trader who cheats the farmer, but the bill does not specify under which section of the penal code will the trader be punished. Also it is not clear under which section will the authority take action and punish the trader, he said.
He also informed that there is a provision in the state government's proposed changes which allows only registered licenced traders to deal with the farmers.
As per the statement, this provision will be tantamount to imposing licence/ permit raj whereby farmers will be forced to deal with a few licenced traders and they will have to live at the whims of these licenced traders. This seems to be a clever arrangement to allow only a few handful traders to exercise their monopoly even outside the market committee. This will also prohibit farmers and their associations from dealing in open market and they will be dominated by these few licenced traders. While making minor changes in the Central Act, such erroneous provisions made by the state must be withdrawn immediately.