The Indian Farms Reforms of 2020 refer to the agricultural bills passed by the Lok Sabha on 17th September 2020 and by the Rajya Sabha on 20th September 2020. The bills collectively seek to provide farmers with multiple marketing channels and provide a legal framework for farmers to enter into pre-arranged contracts among other things.
The President of India gave his assent for the three bills on 27th September 2020.
The three acts include
1. Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Production and Facilitation) Act, 2020
- Expands the scope of trade areas of farmers' produce from select areas to "any place of production, collection, aggregation".
- Allows electronic trading and e-commerce of scheduled farmers' produce.
- Prohibits state governments from levying any market fee, cess or levy on farmers, traders, and electronic trading platforms for trade of farmers' produce conducted in an 'outside trade area'.
2. Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020
- Provides a legal framework for farmers to enter into pre-arranged contracts with buyers including mention of pricing.
- Defines a dispute resolution mechanism.
3. Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020
- Removes foodstuff such as cereals, pulses, potato, onions, edible oilseeds and oils, from the list of essential commodities, removing stockholding limits on such items except under "extraordinary circumstances".
- Requires that imposition of any stock limit on agricultural produce be based on price rise.
Protests against the acts picked up in September 2020, particularly in Delhi, Punjab and Haryana, where farmers have been at the forefront.