After two days of debate, the Kisan Sansad on Tuesday reiterated its demand that the Essential Commodities Amendment Act 2020 should be immediately repealed.
The other two resolutions passed were that the state governments, in consultation with farmer unions, should strengthen the marketing, transportation, storage facilities, and food processing for crops, and bring improvements in food delivery system to ensure basic food and nutrition security to all people, while the Central government should frame a policy to ensure establishment of such basic facilities and infrastructure that will ensure that farmers and their families, not corporate and MNCs, earn from the food production, storage, processing and marketing, a statement from the Kisan Sansad said.
The farmers deliberated and agreed that the provisions of the Essential Commodities Amendment Act 2020 are designed to favour agribusiness companies and big traders at the expense of common consumers and farmers, and the dismantling of existing regulation and oversight mechanisms will lead to domination of agricultural markets by big corporate and global food processing and marketing companies.
“The Act removes the power of the government to prevent hoarding and black-marketing of foodstuffs by big companies and traders, and hence should be termed the ‘Freedom to Hoard and Black-market Foodstuffs’ Act,” the statement said.
The farmers also claimed that the Section 2 of the Act will lead to effective removal of “foodstuffs, including cereals, pulses, potato, onions, edible oilseeds and oils” from regulation under the Act except “under extraordinary circumstances which may include war, famine, extraordinary price rise and natural calamity of grave nature”, and expressed concern that all stock limits now shall be only “based on price rise” which will allow “a 100 per cent increase in the retail prices of horticultural produce, or 50 per cent increase in the retail price of non-perishable agricultural food stuffs” over the price prevailing immediately preceding 12 months.