India needs further amendments in ‘Farm Acts’ to ensure comprehensive PDS, labour laws in farm sector. By Hem Raj Jain

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In addition to amendments in Farm Acts,  to help the genuine farmers (and others) the Modi-government should recover Rs about 1,000 Trillion State capital (Income Tax) from about one million fake farmers.

Presently India is witnessing massive farmer’s protest in and around Delhi and to solve this problem government of India (GoI) is talking to these agitators but the farmer’s leaders are not satisfied on the issues of minimum support price, change in Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) etc and are firm on their demand of repealing the five contentious laws (the three farm Acts, Air Ordinance and power legislation) and are saying that they would decide whether to attend the next meeting on December 5 after consultations on Friday. as reported at -  https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/farmers-agitation-no-breakthrough-next-round-of-talks-on-dec-5-179402

These three farm acts are Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020] and their stated purpose are respectively given as -

(i)- The country needs an accessible and competitive trading system outside the physical space of the notified market-yards under the State APMC Acts hence directly linking the agro-industry with the farmers shortens the supply chain, reduces the marketing cost and post-harvest losses and most importantly enhances farmers’ income. 

(ii)- To provide for a national framework on farming agreements that protects and empowers farmers to engage with agri-business firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters or large retailers for farm services and sale of future farming produce at a mutually agreed remunerative price framework in a fair and transparent manner.

(iii)- The legislation will help drive up investment in cold storages and modernization of food supply chain. It will help both farmers and consumers while bringing in price stability. It will create competitive market environment and also prevent wastage of agri-produce that happens due to lack of storage facilities.

The GoI thought that these ‘Farm Acts’ would solve the problems of the agriculture sector but it did not for the simple reason that GoI did not take into consideration the requirements of modern times and of the people of India. Hence in order to achieve a modern developed economy with justice, the GoI should further amend the Farm Acts to ensure comprehensive PDS, labour laws in farm sector and large land holdings, as mentioned below: -

(1)- With the coming of inevitable unprecedented advance in efficiency (due to Artificial-Intelligence, Thinking-Machines, Robotics etc) very few people will be able to produce enough for entire mankind hence all the human beings of working age would not get traditional / conventional employment and new economic activists would be introduced but many are bound to remain unemployed / underemployed who will be given food-stamps, unemployment benefits etc in order to protect their economic freedom without which democracy has no meaning. 

(2)- In coming future, the space and some planets are going to be inalienable part of human life which will require human beings to behave as a single community and different countries would only be a political arrangement of global world order to provide peace, prosperity and freedom to every human being on earth and in space and in planets. Presently every human being is important (hence universal adult franchise) because in this age of modern-science & technology (which has brought unprecedented power, prosperity and even comparative peace to entire mankind) every human being (he/she) has a potential to contribute in some way in some science (material or life-related or social). Hence India should shape its economic policies by keeping this ‘new horizon for mankind’ in view.

(3)- First and foremost India should realize that so far India has adopted wrong policies about the agriculture sector which resulted in denying labor laws (minimum wages Act etc) to farm laborers with the result they (substantial part of the population and mostly from the socially weaker section of the society) are the worst sufferers in India. This is mainly due to absurd & outdated land ceiling laws which as per India’s Agriculture Census has reduced the  average size of operational land holdings to about 1.1 Hectare. Moreover India has failed to progress in manufacturing and service sectors hence still 41.49 percent of the workforce in India is employed in agriculture [This has resulted in agriculture about 16 % of GDP of India which is very high compared to developing countries where agriculture is only below 2 % of GDP (and rest is manufacturing and service sector) and employment in agriculture in the USA too is below 2 % of total employment as reported at https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/employment-in-agriculture-percent-of-total-employment-wb-data.html and which produces more than requirement of the country because they do highly mechanized agriculture which is possible only in large land holdings].

(4)- In the interest of solving the problem of the agriculture sector by keeping the fast emerging ‘new horizon for mankind’ in view India should take two measures. First, India should abolish the land ceiling laws and go for large land holdings and apply labour laws to agriculture sector too.

(5)- Secondly, India should go for a comprehensive ‘Public Distribution system’ (PDS) where GoI will have one outlet for every 1,000 people. This will require about 14 Lakh (hundred Thousand)  shops / outlets (owned by the GoI) all over India which will require a commensurate network of godowns, cold storages, purchasing centres, transport facilities etc. This PDS can purchase scheduled items (necessary for day today needs of the people like, grains, cereals, dairy, products, poultry products, vegetable, fruits, edible oils etc) from the farm producers of India  at ‘Minimum Support Price’ (MSP) and rest by imports.

(6)- India should stop pampering & befooling the farmers by calling them ‘Ann Data’ (a God which provides bread) and should also stop giving immunity to people who are avoiding Income Tax by illegally posing as farmers. Hence India should immediately start recovering Rs about 1,000 Lakh Crore (Trillion) income Tax (45 % of about 2,200 Trillion wrongly claimed as agriculture income) from about 1 million tax-evaders who illegally posed as framers as was discussed in Parliament too in 2016 as reported at https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/Prominent-people-hiding-taxable-income-Jaitley/articleshow/51408323.cms . This huge State-capital will easily take care of the  finance required for the said PDS of the GoI.

(7)- The agitating farmers (who are mostly genuine farmers) should also demand  the recovery of this State-capital of Rs about 1,000 Trillion (from about 1 million fake farmers) which Modi- government (which claims to be above corruption) is also not recovering for the simple reason that these about 1 million tax evaders are politically very powerful and PM Modi too is afraid of bringing these tax evaders to justice though he also knows that this huge State-capital of about 1,000 Trillion can solve all the economic problem of India.

It can only be hoped that instead of keeping India a medieval economy (with majority of its population leading a life below or little above poverty line), in order to achieve a developed economy with justice, the government of India not only will further amend the ‘Farm Acts’ as mentioned above,  for the purpose of ensuring comprehensive PDS, labour laws in farm sector and large land holdings but will also  recover Rs about 1.000 Trillion Income Tax from about one million fake farmers which will solve all the economic problems of India.

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