The Supreme Court-appointed committee to study the three new controversial agricultural laws has submitted its report to the apex court on March 19 in a sealed cover, one of its members said on Wednesday.
Farmers have been protesting seeking repeal of the three contentious farm laws on the borders of New Delhi for the past five months now. The Supreme Court had on January 11 stayed the implementation of the three laws till further orders and appointed a four-member panel to resolve the impasse. The committee was given two months to study the laws and consult all stakeholders.
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"We submitted the report on March 19 in a sealed cover. Now, the court will decide the future course of action," one of the members of the committee P K Mishra told PTI. As per the committee's official website, the panel held total 12 rounds of consultations with various stakeholders, including farmers groups, farmer-producer organisations (FPOs) procurement agencies, professionals, academicians, private as well as state agriculture marketing boards.
The panel also held nine internal meetings before finalising the report. Apart from Mishra, Shetkari Sanghatana President Anil Ghanwat and agri-economist and former chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) Ashok Gulati are other members of the panel.
The fourth member, Bhartiya Kisan Union President Bhupinder Singh Mann, had, however, recused himself from the committee before the work began. Separately, while briefing Cabinet decisions, Food Minister Piyush Goyal said that while the new farm laws have been brought in the interest of farmers, it is a different issue "some people have misled farmers and tried to create a negative atmosphere".
However, farmers across the country now understand that the new farm laws do not take away the existing system of mandis, and provide more marketing options, he said. Goyal also explained that the government's main concern when the new farm laws were passed in Parliament was how to increase farmers' income and what steps should be taken to open more avenues to ensure their income rises.
In the new farm laws, the government kept the existing option of selling farmers' produce in the APMC mandis intact and provided for other marketing options to ensure better returns to farmers besides creating jobs and attracting investment in the farm sector, he said. While giving other marketing options, the government has carefully designed it to ensure farmers' land is protected and they do not sell their produce under compulsion for lesser price to a trader, he added.
Goyal was one of the central ministers who was present in the last 12 rounds of meetings held with protesting farmers' unions to end the impasse. In its last meeting on January 22, the government had offered to suspend the laws for 18 months which the protesting farmers have rejected.