New Delhi, Dec 3 : Amid the ongoing protests against the Central farm laws, Congress has demanded scrapping of all the three legislations. However, in the party manifesto for the 2019 general elections which the party had lost, it had promised to repeal the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act and the Essential Commodities Act (ECA).
"The Congress will repeal the APMC Act and make trade in agricultural produce, including exports and inter-state trade, free from all restrictions," read the 2019 manifesto.
"The Essential Commodities Act, 1955 belongs to the age of controls. Congress promises to replace the Act by an enabling law that can be invoked only in the case of emergencies," the manifesto added.
Besides, the party had also promised farm loan waiver and implementing NYAY -- a minimum income guarantee scheme.
The manifesto further said it will establish farmers' markets with adequate infrastructure and support in large villages and small towns to enable the farmer to bring his/her produce and freely market the same.
The Congress will formulate a policy on export and import of agricultural products that will support the farmers and farmer producer companies/organisations and enhance their income, it had said.
The party also promised to formulate a policy to enable the construction of modern warehouses, cold storage and food processing facilities in every block of the country.
"We will revive, strengthen and improve the old system of 'Agricultural Extension Services' and bring the best knowledge and best practices to every agricultural holding in the country." it said.
However, the Congress manifesto was silent on the MSP issue.
"Congress will promote farmer producer companies/organisations to enable farmers to access inputs, technology and markets. We will review the prices of agricultural inputs, extend subsidies where necessary, and establish facilities to hire farm machinery," the manifesto said.
The party had that said it will encourage farmers to diversify into the production of local varieties of millets and pulses that can be procured for the PDS, Mid-Day Meals scheme, and the ICDS programme and to promote horticulture, pisciculture and sericulture for diversification and greater income for farmers.
"We will launch a national project to double the value of production in 5 years in dairying and poultry," it had said.
The Congress had also promised to promote organic farming, encourage farmers to use mixed fertilisers and pesticides, support verification of organic products, and help them secure better prices for organic products.