Date: 7 October, 2020
by Harsh Vasu Gupta, UILS, Panjab University
FEATURES OF THE ACT
The act seeks to facilitate inter-state and intra-state trade of produce of farmers beyond the physical premises of Agricultural Product Market Committee (APMC).
Further, the respective State governments have been prohibited from levying any cess or market fee in the areas that are outside APMC areas.
A penalty ranging from 25,000 to Rs 500,000 has been provided for in case of violation of rules framed under the Act.
The Act further has set up a dispute redressal mechanism i.e Conciliation Board. A dispute between a trader and a farmer may be referred by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, seeking a mutually acceptable solution.
The provisions of the Act offer freedom to electronically trade their produce which further aims to promote the idea and guidelines relating to fair trade practices in relation to trading fees and other technical parameters.
Thus, the farmers will be free to sell their produce to anybody, anywhere. The barriers that tend to hinder the intra and inter state trade of produce have been sought to be removed.
The Central Government has been given unhinged power to remove the difficulties that may arise while implementing the provisions of the above Act. It also offers enough protection to both the Central/ State Government and its officers for actions taken in good faith.
ADVANTAGES OF THE ACT
It will definitely help farmers from regions with surplus produce in getting better prices and consumers of regions suffering with shortages, lower prices.
It will help in creating an ecosystem for the farmers as well as traders, that they will enjoy the freedom of choice of sale and purchase of agri-produce.
It will aid in seamless inter and intra trade of agriculture produce.
DISADVANTAGES OF THE ACT
The online trading of produce through portals seems doubtful as most of the farmers are illiterate, who don't even know how to access the internet.
It is believed to lead to the collapse of APMC mandis that has been working well for years. It will eventually lead to closure of mandis.