As the protests against the amendment of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act boil across Karnataka, the Deputy Chief Minister of the state, Ashwathnarayan CN took to his Twitter handle on Wednesday, May 20 to commend on the cabinet's decision on bringing changes to the Act.
The Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) is a marketing board established by a state government to ensure the safety of farmers from exploitation by large retailers, while ensuring the farm to retail price spread does not reach excessively high levels.
Protests against APMC Act amendment
Despite the immense protest and opposition from farmers' groups and opposition political parties in Karnataka, the State Cabinet under Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa had amended the APMC Act by an ordinance on May 14.
Following the amendment of the Act, the Congress leaders in the state held a symbolic protest on Wednesday, against the State's cabinet's decision. By the amendment, farmers will no longer be bound to the more than 160 APMC markets in the State and they can sell their produce to private players.
In addition to this, the amendment comes in the wake of the State government receiving a letter from the Central government which 'suggested' that the Centre's Model Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2017, be adopted by the State soon.
According to the Deputy CM, "Amendments to labor laws have been made in the interests of the manufacturers to enable them to reorganize their constituents in order to stay competitive with the productive class of the country and the world, and in the face of this hardship of the epidemic ."
He appreciated the Government's decision as it truly empowers and frees the farmers from the shackles of the inefficient and issue-ridden APMC system. He also added that the farmers are truly empowered by this move that allows them to sell the produce to the highest buyer and discover the best price for their produce.
'Changes will make our manufacturers non-competitive'
The Grama Panchayat elections, says Ashwanthnarayan in his tweet, although postponed are inevitable in the state. "We cannot bring about a mass mobilisation of the admin machinery to conduct elections due to Covid-19. So, we have decided to form administrative councils under the Gram Swaraj and Panchayat Raj Act, 1993."
"Not making these changes will make our manufacturers non-competitive and lead to closures. We only have the best interests of everyone in mind!" wrote the Deputy CM in his tweet series.
Meanwhile, Law Minister J.C. Madhuswamy had commented on the APMC amendment that with this ordinance, farmers would be free of intermediaries and they would not be exploited.
In its protest on Wednesday, the Congress party members hit out at the central and state governments over their handling of the Covid-19 crisis and packages announced for those in distress. Several state party leaders, including KPCC President D K Shivakumar, Congress Legislature Party and Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah, and MLAs took part in the protest, holding placards and shouting slogans against the government.