PIC Adda : A 2020 Vision of India’s Farm Laws

Prof. Satish Deodhar, Professor, Economics, Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad) was the Guest Speaker at the latest edition of PIC Adda. He spoke on “A 2020 Vision of India’s Farm Laws,” on 17th April. The session was moderated by Dr. Sangeeta Kale, Member, PIC. Dr. Kale introduced the topic of Prof. Deodhar’s talk and shared his profile, work, and publications with the audience.

Prof. Deodhar began by providing a brief historical background of the primacy of agriculture in India. He narrated the evolution of legislation on agricultural produce and markets from the time of the East India Company to the post-colonial, post-independence era. His focus was on the institution of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Corporations (APMCs). He noted during the course of his talk that tools like the minimum support price (MSP) and agricultural markets, which had been designed and intended to benefit farmers, rarely brought them any gains.

He then elaborated on some of the changes made to existing systems by the 2020 farm law reforms, including the removal of restrictions on stock-holding of farm produce, new rules on contract farming and a new act on sale of produce outside of the APMC. After a brief analysis of the reforms, wherein he noted that they were not akin to liberalisation reforms, he briefly provided a balanced analysis of the farmer protests as well. He emphasised that while the government’s pursuit of economic reforms was certainly correct, the ‘art of policymaking’ was lost in the process. Prof. Deodhar noted that attendant issues like water, soil, availability of grains and more needed to be addressed too.

The talk was followed by a round of questions and answers.

Please find the link to the video of this session: