India belongs to farmers and its economy is stabilized by an agrarian economy in all testing times. India overcame utter poverty through the Green revolution initiated by scientists M S Swaminathan and Vandana Shiva in 1966 especially in Punjab, Haryana, and UP. Hope one can understand why farmers in these states are raising their voice against New Farm Bills 2020 as they are intended to rob their rights over their lands and existing pro farming policies. Nearly 20,000 farmers will start a vehicle march organized by the All-India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) to support the ongoing agitation at Delhi to repeal the central government’s farm laws. They will also seek the provision of a legal cover to the minimum support price. Farmers are not against the Government. They want Government accountability in the matter of Food Security. But the Government wants to shred off its responsibility due to its malaise intentions since it is controlled by Israel and France. MSP is an administrative job and these farm laws have overpowered the civil Administration. On January 25, farmers will participate in the public rally, which will be addressed by former Member of the Parliament (MP) Hanan Molla and leaders from Samyukta Shetkari Kamgar Morcha. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray are expected to address the rally in support of ongoing agitation.
The farmer unions believe that the laws will open the sale and marketing of agricultural products outside the notified Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis for farmers. Further, the laws will allow inter-state trade and encourage electronic trading of agricultural produce. The new laws prevent the state governments from collecting a market fee, cess, or levy for trade outside the APMC markets; this has led the farmers to believe the laws will “gradually end the mandi system” and “leave farmers at the mercy of corporates”. Further, the farmers believe that the laws will end their existing relationship with artisans (commission agents who act as middlemen by providing financial loans, ensuring timely procurement, and promising adequate prices for their crop). Additionally, protesting farmers believe dismantling the APMC mandis will encourage abolishing the purchase of their crops at the minimum support price. They are therefore demanding the minimum support prices to be guaranteed by the government.
The Indian farmers’ protest is an ongoing protest against the three farm acts which were passed by the Parliament of India in September 2020. Farmer unions and their representatives have demanded that the laws be repealed and will not accept anything short of it. Farm leaders have rejected a Supreme Court of India stay order on the farm laws as well as the involvement of a Supreme Court-appointed committee. Nine rounds of talks have taken place between the central government and farmers represented by the farm unions between 14 October 2020 and 15 January 2021; all were inconclusive. The acts have been described as “anti-farmer laws” by many farmer unions, and politicians from the opposition also say it would leave farmers at the “mercy of corporates”. The farmers have also requested the creation of an MSP bill, to ensure that corporates cannot control prices. The government, however, maintains that they will make it effortless for farmers to sell their produce directly to big buyers, and stated that the protests are based on misinformation.
Soon after the acts were introduced, unions began holding local protests, mostly in Punjab. After two months of protests, farmer unions—notably from Punjab and Haryana—began a movement named Dilli Chalo (translates as Let’s go to Delhi), in which tens of thousands of farming union members marched towards the nation’s capital. The Indian government ordered the police and law enforcement of various states to attack the farmer unions using water cannons, batons, and tear gas to prevent the farmer unions from entering into Haryana first and then Delhi. On 26 November a nationwide general strike that involved approximately 250 million people took place in support of the farmer unions. On 30 November, it was estimated that between 200,000 and 300,000 farmers were converging at various border points on the way to Delhi. A section of farmer unions has been protesting, whereas the Indian Government claims some unions have come out in support of the farm laws. Transport unions representing over 14 million trucker drivers have come out in support of the farmer unions, threatening to halt the movement of supplies in certain states. After the government did not accept the farmer unions’ demands during talks on 4 December, the farmer unions planned to escalate the action to another India-wide strike on 8 December 2020. The government offered some amendments in-laws, but unions are asking to repeal the laws. From 12 December, farmer unions took over highway toll plazas in Haryana and allowed free movement of vehicles. By mid-December, the Supreme Court of India had received a batch of petitions related to removing blockades created by protesters around Delhi. The court also asked the government to put the laws on hold, which they refused. On 4 January 2021, the court registered the first plea filed in favour of the protesting farmers. Farmers have said they will not listen to the courts if told to back off. Their leaders have also said that staying the farm laws is not a solution. On 30 December, the Indian Government agreed to two of the farmers’ demands; excluding farmers from new pollution laws and dropping amendments to the new Electricity Ordinance.