The Nation’s Constitution, the text of which is often glorified in many ways, including its dubious feature as the world’s most voluminous by public speakers of all hues from various platforms on well-marked occasions, has mothered not only 120 or so amendments but also a large number of Acts and still counting. Their virtual tail in the form of Rules and Regulations may very well fall out of the shelves of even the most sought-after lawyers, not to speak of the stock of the implementing functionaries in various Departments of the Government. The street-smart sections in the land’s population are entitled to their scant regard to this virtual cornucopia saying “Show me the person I’ll show you the rules.” The number of Court cases in the temples of justice across the country yet to be heard by the Judges is said to have exceeded three crore. The number of rules and regulations, being issued as appendage to the Acts, both complied with and violated in the land is keeping august company with the undecided litigations. It is unfair to make any sweeping remark on the manner and extent of people benefiting from the Acts. One such Act, Model Contract Farming Act, ostensibly to make farming a calling that brings smile on the face of farming fraternity raises hopes of keeping the country’s food basket to be brimful.
The rustics are known to be pursuing agriculture for centuries without fuss and ado, while it is only now that they are mentioned in despatches as the country’s backbone. Thanks to the yawning urban-rural divide on many counts, the disenchanted rustic is heading to cities in search of assured livelihood without toiling. The Contract Farming Act, if implemented effectively, may benefit both sections, food for urbanites and livelihood with well-deserved income to rustics.
The contract farming system under the Agricultural Produce and Livestock Contract Farming and Services (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2018, released by the Centre in May 2018 aims to link farmers with known buyers such as agri-business firms through a forward contract in which the farmer promises to supply certain quantity of his produce to the buyer in a pre-agreed time-frame, subject to mutually agreed conditions. The buying party is expected to bail out the farmer on occasions of crop failure, uncertainties of market, shortfall of inputs, soaring transportation costs etc. If all goes well on fields and the contract does not suffer any glitches, the system aids the growth of food processing industry, which can provide employment to people, both skilled and unskilled in numbers larger than any other industry.
Tamil Nadu Government has reportedly introduced the law governing contract farming practice and Karnataka Government is learnt to be in the process of following suit. Third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), renowned Statesman, has opined that cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. The country’s law-makers who deserve credit for framing farmer-friendly Acts need to walk-the-talk as it were by implementing the related rules and regulations in word and spirit, for the well-being of the country’s annadaatas.