Memoranda for Submission to the Chief Ministers of the Two Telugu States.


Farmers Get the Freedom Industrialists Have


Farmers Get the Freedom Industrialists Have

Dr T H Chowdary*



Opposition to the latest farmers bill  passed (20.09.20) by the Parliament of  India  by some opposition parties is  unjustified and appears to be purely  political  . They are  saying that the  farmers may not get the  minimum support price (msp) that governments are assuring them when the farm produce is sold in the authorised market yards set up by the state governments.  They fear that the private purchasers of the  farmers produce may depress the prices, thus  distressing  the farmers. 


2. We have  the Food Corporation of India which is a Government of India undertaking. It is the largest purchaser of the farm products, wheat and paddy. It is not wound up.  It is in the market.  It can compete with the private sector  companies buying  the farmers produce. It can always offer  the minimum economic price  determined by governments in lieu of   the minimum support price. In fact, it can outbid  any private purchaser if the governments are so solicitous of the farmers well being .   The FCI can daily display/notify the prices at  which it would buy the farmers’ produce just as the  poultry farmers’ NECC ( National Egg Co-ordination Council) does daily for poultry  products in various cities.  The  farmers can then make their choice as to whom to sell.


3. Since the 1950s,  the greatest champion of  Kisans, Prof. Ranga and  a little later,  Rajaji and the Swatantra  party had been  demanding that  farmers should be free to sell their  produce to any body, at any time, at any place. If a  maker of soaps or cosmetics or fans or air conditioners or clothes can sell  any quantity, anywhere in the county, why could  such freedom  be not  available to the farmer, they asked . Why should the farmer  be restricted to sell his produce only at a  certain place  designated by the government ? When  interstate sale /purchase of food grains was not permitted they were getting smuggled .  It is ridiculous that when the whole of India is  designated as a common market when the  GST was introduced, why could not the whole of India become the market for farmers produce ?

4. The restriction  that  a person seeking to get into the Rajya Sabha must be  a resident /registered voter in the state from which  he seeks  election has been  waived by an amendment of the constitution and  the election rules. That means citizens are given  freedom to fill up a seat in the Rajya Sabha by being a voter from any other  state.  If politicians  can have such  freedom which is given to them by amending the constitution, why should not farmers have the  freedom to sell their produce  anywhere in the country?

5.   Food Corporation of India   has been  the single   largest buyer  /procurer of food grains, wheat and rice. Since the government under the  Food Security  Policy has been supplying wheat and rice through the Public Distribution Scheme (PDS) either for free or at nominal  price, the government as buyer of the food grains through  Food Corporation of India has been having an interest to keep the procurement cost as low as possible, because it is distributing  them almost for free for about  80 crs of people in the  country.

6. The government’s interest was to keep the procurement price as low as possible while at the same time  telling the  farmers that it is interested in giving them  an economic price related to the  costs of  production. With the passing of  the  bills which should  become  laws very soon, farmers will be  as free as any producer of other goods and services to sell  wherever he has the best bargain,  at the time he chooses. If the government is   interested in seeing that the farmer  gets the proper price, the Food Corporation of  India  should  compete  with the private companies for   procurement of   food grains   from the  farmers  at the  highest price that the government thinks is due to the farmers.  This my be periodically estimated  by the  Bureau of Industrial ( and  Agricultural) Costs and Prices (BICP) .

7. Government is very  frequently raising/ lowering the prices of petrol and diesel oil.  So can the Food Corporation change  the prices at which  it offers to buy wheat and  rice /paddy.  Finally, if governments want the  existing  market   yards to keeping going, let them  do so.  They could be another choice for the farmers.  Just as one can choose   a public sector or private sector  bank, so let the farmer have the  choice. (754 words)