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The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Service Bill 2020 has been a topic of hot discussion in India, as it has major implications on the farming sector. The bill aims to empower farmers by providing them with a platform to contractually sell their produce to buyers, while also protecting their interests through a dispute resolution mechanism.

The bill, which was passed in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in September 2020, is a part of the government`s larger attempt to double farmers` incomes by 2022. It aims to give farmers the freedom to sell their produce to anyone they wish to, without any restrictions. Additionally, the bill seeks to create a legal framework for contract farming, which is an essential component of modern agriculture. Through contract farming, farmers can enter into agreements with agribusiness firms or food processors, who provide them with improved inputs, technology, and market access.

According to the bill, both parties, i.e., the farmer and the buyer, must enter into a written agreement, which must specify the quality, quantity, and price of the produce. The agreement must also mention the mechanism of dispute resolution, in case of any disagreement between the parties. This will provide legal protection to farmers against exploitation or non-payment by buyers.

Furthermore, the bill also introduces a novel concept called `price assurance`. Under this, farmers will be provided with a minimum guaranteed price for their produce, which will be fixed before the beginning of the sowing season. This will ensure that farmers get the right price for their crop, irrespective of market fluctuations.

In addition to price assurance, the bill also seeks to create a framework for the promotion of farm services. Through this, farmers will be able to access various services, such as storage, transportation, and marketing facilities, which will help them get better returns on their produce.

However, the bill has faced opposition from some quarters, who claim that it will lead to the dismantlement of the existing system of mandis (agricultural markets). They argue that the bill will pave the way for private players to enter the agri-market, which will lead to the exploitation of farmers.

In conclusion, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Service Bill 2020, is a significant step towards the empowerment of farmers in India. The bill aims to provide farmers with a fair and transparent system of selling their produce, while also protecting their interests. While there are concerns over the bill, it is important to acknowledge that the need of the hour is to create a system that is beneficial to farmers and the economy as a whole.

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