QUESTION : Do you think the reforms proposed for agricultural sector under the realm of Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan ensure better price realization for farmers? Elucidate
FARM ACTS – UNWANTED CONSTITUTIONAL ADVENTURISM
Legal Challenges Faced By Farm Acts
WHY IN NEWS ?
Farm Acts passed by the Parliament could face the legal hurdle in the court when challenged on its constitutional basis. This article explains the issue.
- Recently, Parliament passed three acts related to agriculture. These Acts are-
1) The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020.
2) The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020.
3) The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
- This has led to the question: Does the Union government have the authority to legislate on what are rightfully the affairs of States?
GENERAL CONCERNS AND CRITICISMS :
- These bills are anti-farmer and will only result in reduced crop prices for farmers and undermine seed security even further.
- Food security will be eroded as government intervention is eliminated.
- These bills promote corporate control of the Indian food and farming systems.
- They will also encourage hoarding and black marketing, in addition to exploitation of farmers.
- The bills also lack any assurance about Minimum Support Price(MSP).
WHY AGRICULTURE IS CONSIDERED AS STATE’S PREROGATIVE :
- Agriculture is a State subject in the Constitution, listed as Entry 14 in the State List (List II).
- Entry 26 in the State List refers to “trade and commerce within the State”.
- Entry 27 in the State List refers to “production, supply and distribution of goods”.
- Entry 28 refers to “markets and fairs”.
- For these reasons, intra-State marketing in agriculture was always considered a legislative prerogative of States.
LEGAL BASIS USED BY PARLIAMENT TO PASS THE FARM ACTS :
- The central government invoked Entry 33 in the Concurrent List (List III).
- Entry 26 and 27 in List II are listed as “subject to the provisions of Entry 33 of List III”.
- Entry 33 in List III: Trade and commerce in, and the production, supply and distribution of, — (a) the products of any industry where the control of such industry by the Union is declared by Parliament by law to be expedient in the public interest, and imported goods of the same kind as such products; (b) foodstuffs, including edible oilseeds and oils; (c) cattle fodder, including oilcakes and other concentrates; (d) raw cotton, whether ginned or unginned, and cotton seed; and (e) raw jute.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF “ENTRY 33” :
- Entry 33, in its present form, was inserted in List III through the Constitution (Third Amendment) Act, 1954 after heated constitutional debates.
- The contention of the dissent was the following:
- As per Article 369 in the original version of the Constitution, the responsibility of agricultural trade and commerce within a State was temporarily entrusted to the Union government for a period of five years beginning from 1950.
- The 1954 Amendment attempted to change this into a permanent feature in the Constitution.
- According to dissident “if matters enumerated in Article 369 in were placed in List III, State autonomy would be rendered illusory and State powers and rights would be progressively pulverised…”.
- While another dissident argued that “passage of the Bill would transform the Indian Constitution into a “unitary Constitution” instead of a “federal Constitution” and reduce “all the States’ powers into municipal powers”.
- Notwithstanding the strong dissenting voices, the Bill was passed.
SUPREME COURT JUDGEMENTS :
- In many of its judgments after 1954, the Supreme Court of India has upheld the legislative powers of States in intra-State agricultural marketing.
- Most notable was the ruling of the five-judge Constitution Bench in I.T.C. Limited vs. Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) and Others, 2002.
- The Tobacco Board Act, 1975 had brought the development of the tobacco industry under the Centre.
- However, Bihar’s APMC Act continued to list tobacco as an agricultural produce.
- In this case, the question was if the APMC in Monghyr could charge a levy on ITC for the purchase of unprocessed tobacco leaves from growers.
- An earlier judgment had held that the State APMC Act will be repugnant to the Central Act, and hence was ultra vires.
- But the Constitution Bench upheld the validity of the State APMC Act, and ruled that market fees can be charged from ITC under the State APMC Act.
- It was unwise on the part of the Centre to use Entry 33 in List III to push the Farm Bills. Such adventurism weakens the spirit of federal cooperation that India needs in this hour of crisis. Second, agriculture is exclusively a State subject.
- Second, agriculture is exclusively a State subject. Everything
that is ancillary or subsidiary to an exclusive subject in List II should also fall under the exclusive legislative purview of States.
QUESTION : The pandemic has disrupted our normal lives, but it also provides an opportunity to bring in changes that we desire in our education strategy. Discuss the changes that are required.
REIMAGINING EDUCATION IN AN INDIA AT 100
Principles of National Education
WHY IN NEWS ?
There is a need to explore the contours of national education practices leading to 2047 when politically independent India becomes 100 years old.
HOW DO WE PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE ?
To power India’s ascend in the global growth path, we need to reassess our education strategy to maximise the potential of our large talent. This can be achieved through the following ways.
- Digital technologies need to be incorporated to deliver lessons to students. It can be harnessed to enable remote learning for students across all age groups
- The teachers need to be trained to become better educators.
- The youth of the country need to be mobilised by offering them customised learning courses that are tailored to complement their capabilities, skillsets and employability needs.
- Also in addition to hard skills, more emphasis should be given to cognitive and soft skills.
- A transdisciplinary learning approach will help in building resilience and improving adaptability.
- Peer-to-peer, peer-to-teacher and group discussions are some great ways to foster learning over digital platforms.
- Using 3D Visualizations, simulations, prototyping and AR/VR based training can be used to strengthen technology skilling which is imperative in moving forward.
From a teacher’s perspective, the next education practices can be viewed through the following five design principles.
- Autonomy: To Excel is the key
- The greatest insurance for autonomy is excellence in students’ outcomes rather than a piece of legislation.
- As long as institutions continue to excel, they will earn their autonomy through social, community and citizens’ sanctions. Legislation may help.
- In practice, autonomy cannot be defined by entitlement nor limited by unlawful encroachment.
- By 2047, autonomy has to be imbibed as an institutional culture rather than a personal perquisite of a vice chancellor, principal or a director.
- There needs to be autonomy in teaching methods, autonomy of the learner in creating her own curriculum, autonomy of thought and self-governance — Swayttata.
- Learning: Technology Rich Settings
- In 2047, six billion people in the world would constitute the middle class. With little money but with enormous hunger for learning, they will define the learner base for a networked global university system
- Technology will proliferate intelligence from hardware to software to everywhere.
- Teachers will evolve from ring masters to zen masters, raising awareness rather than delivering content
- The four core tasks of the university: creation; dissemination; accreditation and monetisation of knowledge will require a sweet synthesis of algorithm and altruism.
- Learning will involve mobilisation of knowledge for a specific person; is a specific context to face specific challenges or problems.
- In the ultimate analysis, learning will be about propagation of crucial questions rather than pre-determined answers. Pressure of performance will have to co-exist with the pleasure and ecstasy of learning — ananda.
- Trans-disciplinarity: Coherence across fields
- The new National Education Policy (NEP) roots for multi-disciplinary institutions rather than standalone schools. Multidisciplinarity involves experts from different disciplines working together, each drawing on their unique disciplinary knowledge.
- However, by 2047, trans-disciplinarity rather than multi-disciplinarity will be the norm. Transdisciplinarity is about creating a coherence of intellectual frameworks beyond the disciplinary perspectives.
- Knowledge in 2047 will move from discipline-based units to the unity of meaning and understanding.
- The reductionist knowledge of the West that explains the whole as the sum of parts will yield space to the quest for the part less whole that the rishis of the Upanishads described as purnatwa.
- Technology-Innovation: School as connecting hub
- Technology-led innovation will take learning from cognition to immersion.
- Traditionally, students of professional courses learnt through field and factory visits. Today, it is possible for a factory experience to be simulated in a classroom
- In 2047, school will not be a brick and mortar house but a connecting hub that will digitally decode, deliver and disperse knowledge.
- Disruptive innovation will enable technology to give greater access to hitherto exclusive knowledge and fulfil unmet learner needs.
- Technology will not be a cosmetic add-on but serve a strategic purpose. Leading schools of the world will harness talent and technology seamlessly.
- Values, mindset and culture: Nurturing minds with values
- By 2047, Indian teachers will be engaged in nurturing global
mindsets based on three classical values of India:
satyam(authenticity), nityam (sustainability) and purnam (wholeness).
- Mindsets will be based on how learners receive information and not what information they receive; on how to think rather than what to think.
- Education is finally about creating and sustaining wholesome cultures rather than serving the templates of outmoded civilisations.
- The most valuable outcome of education is the becoming of a competent and compassionate human being.
- The granting of autonomy to premium institutions should not affect the equity and accessibility to quality education and appropriate measures should be taken to address such concerns.
- A teacher is like a guiding light who will help us navigate through the continuous process of learning, unlearning and relearning in our lives. This pandemic has been a great teacher to us – helping us prioritise our needs, assess our strengths and also teaching us alternative ways of living our lives.