The International Monetary Fund (IMF) lauded the new Farm Laws enacated by the Modi Government at the Centre. A spokesman of the IMF in Washington said that it believes the farm laws have “the potential to represent a significant step forward for agricultural reforms” in the country.

Gerry Rice, Director of Communications at the International Monetary Fund in a news conference in Washington on Thursday, said that “We believe the farm bills do have the potential to represent a significant step forward for agricultural reforms in India”.

The IMF official said the new farm bill will reduce the role of the middlemen and enhance efficiency.

He added that, “The measures will enable farmers to directly contract with sellers, allow farmers to retain a greater share of the surplus by reducing the role of middlemen, enhance efficiency and support rural growth.”

When the spokesperson was questioned about the ongoing protests by farmers against the Fam Laws he responded by saying, “However, it is crucial that the social safety net adequately protects those who might be adversely impacted during the transition to this new system.”

He added that “This can be done by ensuring that the job market accommodates those that are impacted by the reforms, and of course, the growth benefits of these reforms will depend, critically, on the effectiveness and the timing of their implementation, so need to pay attention to those issues as well with the reform,” Rice said.

The three Farm Laws was enacted in September 2020 by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country.

The IMF statement praising the new Farm Laws comes on the heels of the stay on the peration of these laws by the Supreme Court to placate the mob of protestors assembled in the Punjab and Delhi border for nearly two months now. These protestors had also turned violent and damaged nearly 1500 telecom towers in Punjab leaving the communcation system at the time of pandemic Covid-19. The farmer unions speaking for the protestors have refused to come on the table for discussion to break the deadlock.

India’s Supreme Court had appointed a panel on farm laws which is likely to hold its first meeting on January 19 even as Bhartiya Kisan Union president Bhupinder Singh Mann said he is recusing himself from the four-member committee.

Despite Prime Minister Modi assuring the farmers that the new laws empowers them to not be restricted by the APMC Boards of the States and allows them to sell farm produce in any market of their choice. And the laws does not in any way take away the facility of Minimum Support Price set by the government as a safety net for the farmers. A misinformation campaign was spread by vested political interests and the middlemen lobby connected to the APMC, to mislead small and marginal farmers from Punjab and Haryana in to believing that the new Farm Laws would eliminate the safety net of the Minimum Support Price and do away with the Mandi system, leaving them at the mercy of corporates. Notably, the authorities found damning evidence showing that Khalistani ideologues in Canada aided by Pakistan were routing in crores of rupees through shell companies set up by Punjabi singers like Diljit Singh Dosanjh with alleged dubious Khalistani connections.

Instead of spreading this negative campaign leading to anarchy the Farmers Union Leaders could have negotiated with the government put in place a robust system to aid the farmers to form their co-operatives to either sell their produce directly in urban areas to the consumers or else sell their produce to agro-based industries. The Farmers Union could have also urged to set up a mechanism to ensure that farmers can collectively bargain to get maximum value of their produce. The Farmers Union could also have asked the government to provide employment opportunities for a section of people who would be impacted ( the agents who buy food grains and vegetables from farmers and sell them at APMC mandis) by the new Farm Acts.

However the farmers Union leaders are adopting an intransigent attitude which only harms the cause of poor and maginal farmers. Notably, the protests are held mainly by the Punjab and Haryana farmers, elsewhwere the farmers are quite positive that these new legislations will usher in a much needed reform in the sector to make farming viable and ensure food surplus to facilitate export of food grains uplifting the economic status of the small and marginal farmers of India.

Article based on news report in WION: Potential to represent significant step forward for agricultural reforms: IMF praises India’s farm bill, India News News |

Picture of the article sourced from Financial Express

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