The Supreme Court-appointed four-member committee's report on the three farm laws has been released. The report states that around 84% of the farmer unions that spoke to the committee, representing more than 3 crore farmers in the country, had supported the farm laws.
A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of the then Chief Justice S A Bobde, Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice V. Ramasubramanian had passed an interim order dated 12 January 2021, constituting a Committee on the three Farm Laws, comprising of:-
(1) Bhupinder Singh Mann, National President, Bhartiya Kisan Union and All India Kisan Coordination Committee;
(2) Dr.Parmod Kumar Joshi, Agricultural Economist, Director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute;
(3) Ashok Gulati, Agricultural Economist and Former Chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices;
(4) Anil Ghanwat, President, Shetkari Sanghatana
The Committee was to listen to the grievances of the farmers relating to the farm laws and the views of the Government and make recommendations.
The report of the Committee was released by Anil Ghanwat, along with a letter to the Chief Justice of India about his decision to release the report.
He has said that Saturday marked one year from the date of submission of the Report to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover and that he had written thrice to the Supreme Court requesting the release of the Report.
The report says that only four unions representing 51 lakh farmers had opposed the farm laws, and 7 unions wanted some amendments in the laws.
It is also said that the farmer organisations leading the protests in Delhi didn't attend the interactive sessions with the committee, despite repeated invites sent to them.
"It may, however, be noted that in these interactive sessions with Farmers Organizations, the agitating farmers' organizations at the periphery of Delhi did not join the discussions with the Committee despite repeated invites sent to them. The Committee was informed that the organizations were not willing to present before the Committee and preferred bilateral discussions with the Government. The Committee respects their decision of not participating in its deliberations. However, their concerns, as ascertained from media reports and interactions with Government, have been kept in mind by the Committee, while formulating its recommendations", states the report.
The report states that as per the feedback received by it from the farmer groups, only 42.3 percent of the farmer groups sell their produce in the APMC mandis and it is concentrated mostly in the States of Punjab and Haryana where more than 70 percent of farmers sell in APMC mandis.
The report states that around two-thirds of the respondents felt that the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 would give more choice to the farmers beyond the APMC mandis and would enable farmers to get a better price for their produce.
"A State-wise analysis of the Act shows that respondents in Punjab (64 percent), Andhra Pradesh (51 percent), Kerala (49 percent) and West Bengal (47 percent) feel that the Acts would not give a choice to farmers to sell beyond the APMC markets. Around 51.5 percent of the respondents feel that the dispute settlement process, as laid down in the Act, would serve the purpose", says the report.
As per the report, only 27.5 percent of farmer/farmer groups sell their produce at the Minimum Support Price (MSP). This is concentrated mostly in States of Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh.
The report contains detailed recommendations of the committee.