[Editorial Analysis] Imposing a compromise

Mains Paper 3: Economy
Prelims level: Farm laws
Mains level: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System-objectives, functioning,

Context:

• The Supreme Court passed an interim order in the ongoing contestation between large sections of the farmers and the Centre over the new farm laws.
• The apex Court, in its recent verdict on the petitions against the Centre’s new farm laws and farmers’ protest, has put on hold the three farm laws. It is willing to suspend the laws but not indefinitely.

About the Judgment:

• SC decided to set up a four-member committee to resolve the deadlock between the Centre and farmers.
• The Centre may have a specific interest and farmers want repeal, the court said.
• Constitutional validity of 3 farm laws is not suspended it put only stays on implementation of farm laws.
• The court had indicted the government for not doing wider consultations before the laws were passed. May be, the government did not anticipate the intensity of current protests.

Question on Judiciary approach:

• The Court’s approach raises the question whether it should traverse beyond its adjudicative role and pass judicial orders of significant import on the basis of sanguine hope and mediational zeal.
• SC Faulting the Centre for its failure to break the deadlock arising out of the weeks-long protest by thousands of farmers in the vicinity of Delhi.
• It is not clear how the four members on the committee were chosen,
• How will the Court deal with a possible recommendation that the laws be amended?
• It would be strange and even questionable if the Court directed Parliament to bring the laws in line with the committee’s views.
• Why a negotiated settlement is always preferable, it is equally important that judicial power is not seen as being used to dilute the import of the protest or de-legitimise farmer unions that stay away from the proceedings of the panel or interfere with the powers of Parliament to legislate.

What are the farmers’ demands?

• Convene a special Parliament session to repeal the farm laws
• Make minimum support price (MSP) and state procurement of crops a legal right.
• Assurances that conventional procurement system will remain
• Implement Swaminathan Panel Report and peg MSP at least 50% more than weighted average cost of production.
• Cut diesel prices for agricultural use by 50%
• Repeal of Commission on Air Quality Management in NCR and the adjoining Ordinance 2020 and removal of punishment and fine for stubble burning.
• Release of farmers arrested for burning paddy stubble in Punjab.
• Abolishing the Electricity Ordinance 2020.
• Centre should not interfere in state subjects, decentralization in practice
• Withdrawal of all cases against and release of farmer leaders Protests.

Way forward:

• Subsidy constitutes almost 54 percent of the agriculture value added in OECD as compared to seven per cent in India. Opposition to subsidy is also from within than outside. The population dependency on farm is extremely thin in these countries.
• As per 2018, agriculture employed more than 50? of the Indian work force and contributed 17–18% to country’s GDP. In 2016, agriculture and allied sectors like animal husbandry, forestry and fisheries accounted for 15.4% of the GDP (gross domestic product) with about 41.49% of the workforce in 2020.
• In the case of an adult unmarried person or a family consisting of a sole surviving member the ceiling limit is five standard acres subject to a maximum of seven and a half acres. A family consisting of two or more but not more than five members can hold ten standard acres and up to a maximum of fifteen acres.
• India is the world’s largest producer of pulses, rice, wheat, spices and spice products. Farmer must be protected from arbitration legislation.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the Marathwada Rail Coach Factory, consider the following statements:
1. Indian Railways’ PSU, Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) commissioned Marathwada Rail Coach Factory in Latur, Maharashtra with production of the first coach shell.
2. This factory has been designed with an initial capacity of manufacturing 250 MEMU / EMU / LHB / trainset type advanced coaches per annum.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: C

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