Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president and former union minister Sharad Pawar on January 30 said the new farm reform laws brought by the Centre will adversely impact the Minimum Support Price (MSP) procurement and weaken the 'Mandi' system.
As farmers' protest at Delhi borders against the contentious laws continues unabated, Pawar said in a series of tweets that the MSP mechanism should be strengthened further.
The new farm laws curtail the powers of Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs or 'Mandis' in common parlance) regarding collection of levy and fees from traders, dispute resolution, agri-trade licensing and regulation of e-trading, he said.
"I am also concerned about the amended Essential Commodities Act," the former union agriculture minister said.
Under the amended act, the government will intervene for price control only if rates of horticultural produce go up 100 percent and that of non-perishable items by 50 percent, he said.
Stock-piling limits have been removed on food grains, pulses, onions, potatoes and oil seeds which can cause apprehension that corporates will purchase commodities at lower rates and sell them at higher prices to consumers, Pawar said.
"During my tenure, draft APMC rules 2007 were framed for setting up special markets, thereby providing alternative platforms for farmers to market their commodities and utmost care was also taken to strengthen the existing mandi system," he said.
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Thousands of farmers have been protesting since late November 2020 at Delhi's borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, demanding a rollback of the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.