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All 4 members of SC-appointed panel have supported farm laws: Who are they?


New Delhi, Jan 12: In a bid to resolve the deadlock over farmers' agitation against three farm laws the Supreme Court on set up a committee comprising experts to hear the parties and understand the ground situation.

SC-appointed panel members

The four members of the committee are Bhupinder Singh Mann, President of Bhartiya Kisan Union; Anil Ghanwat, President of Shetkeri Sangthana, Maharashtra; Pramod Kumar Joshi, director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute, and agriculture economist Ashok Gulati.

The four-members have been known as pro-reforms in the agriculture space and have openly supported the farm laws.

Anil Ghanwat, President of Shetkari Sangthana

Anil Ghanwat, currently the president of the Shetkar Sanghatan founded by late Sharad Joshi had been has openly supported the Center's farm laws.

Ghanwat, a member of the committee appointed by the SC to hold talks with agitating farmers, said on Tuesday that the new farm laws partially implement what his outfit has been demanding for decades.

''We are not lauding the Centre's three acts that are described as giving freedom to farmers. It was the Shetkari Sanghatana headed by late Sharad Joshi which had pressed for these changes first,'' Ghanwat, whose organisation has been accused of backing the Centre on the issue despite representing farmers, said.

''Now the current government has tried to implement them to some extent. My role in the committee will be to protect the interest of farmers and improve these laws,'' he said.

Sharad Joshi, an economist who had worked with theWorld Bank, founded the Shetkari Sanghatna in the late 1970s.

Agriculture economist Ashok Gulati

Gulati is an eminent agriculture scientist and he received Padma Shri award in 2015 for his contribution in this field. He was the youngest member of the Economic Advisory Council of the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during the first NDA regime.

He is currently Infosys Chair Professor for Agriculture at the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER).

Gulati was also Chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) during 2011-14 period. Before becoming the Chairman of the CACP, which advises the government on fixing the minimum support price (MSP), he was a director at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) for more than 10 years (2001-11).

At present, Gulati is on the Central Board of Directors of the RBI, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and commodity exchange NCDEX. He has written 15 books on Indian and Asian Agriculture, besides several research papers.

Notably, Gulati has written opinion articles in national dailies, and also spoken to the media in support of the farm laws.

Pramod Kumar Joshi, director for South Asia

Pramod Kumar Joshi is the director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), New Delhi.

Earlier, he had held the positions of director of the National Academy of Agricultural Research Management, Hyderabad as well as the National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research, New Delhi.

Previously, Joshi was South Asia Coordinator at the International Food Policy Research Institute and senior economist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics in Patancheru.

Joshi, in a piece co-written by him for the Financial Express, said, "Any dilution in the farm laws will constrain Indian agriculture in harnessing the emerging global opportunities."

Bhupinder Singh Mann, President of Bhartiya Kisan Union

Farmer leader Bhupinder Singh Mann is the national president of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), which is part of the All India Kisan Coordination Committee. He was Rajya Sabha member from 1990-96.

He was part of a group of farmers that met Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar in December, in support of new farm laws.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Haryana and Punjab, have been protesting at several border points of Delhi since November 28 last year, demanding a repeal of the three laws and a legal guarantee to the minimum support price (MSP) system for their crops.

Enacted in September last year, the three laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country.

However, the protesting farmers have expressed their apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of the MSP and do away with the "mandi" (wholesale market) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.

with PTI inputs

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