The Central government told the apex court on Friday that it has undertaken all the measures to implement National Policy for Farmers (NPF), 2007 which has been put in place to secure the development and growth of agriculture and improvement of farmers. The central government was responding against a public interest litigation which sought the implementation of the NPF.
The Ministry of Agriculture stated in a counter affidavit, filed on behalf of the government, that there is no scope or possibility made out for comparison between the increase and decrease in the price of one commodity with respect to other commodity, as the prices depended on a lot of particular demand and supply factors, along with a great role played by different market forces.
The counter affidavit stated on record that the central government had taken all the necessary and possible measure for implementing the National Policy for Farmers, 2007 as required to ensure the development and growth of agriculture and allied activities. The counter affidavit further argued that the government had also done everything possible for the benefit and upliftment of the farming community in the country.
Further, the counter affidavit included observations relating to achievements in self-sufficiency vis-à-vis food and cash crops along with sizeable quota of buffer stock for ensuring an export surplus in agricultural commodities. However, the counter affidavit noted that production is still deficient in pulses and oil seeds.
Listed before a bench of Justice S J Mukhopadhaya and Justice NV Ramanm, the matter was postponed for further hearing after six weeks owing to an additional affidavit being placed on record by Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh.
The public interest litigation in question was filed by the Consortium of Farmers Association, in 2011. It had prayed for swift implementation of the National Policy for Farmers, 2007 arguing that in spite of the growing inflation in the retail and wholesale prices of agricultural products, there was no end to the suffering of tillers, who were still impoverished and riddled with debt. Further, the public interest litigation has accused the central government of sitting idle when it came to implementing the National Policy for Farmers. It noted that no action had been taken since 2007 even though the long coveted policy was framed in line with the recommendations of the commission led by the noted agricultural scientist and expert, Dr. M.S. Swaminathan.
Earlier during the hearings, the Court had issued notices to the central government. In response to those notices, the centre had promptly filed an affidavit as well as a supplementary affidavit.
by Siddhartha Singh.