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HomeEditorialFarmers' Demands Are Legitimate; Government Should Let Them Protest Peacefully

Farmers’ Demands Are Legitimate; Government Should Let Them Protest Peacefully

Modi, who won elections on a promise of doubling farm income, has been under pressure to bring private investments to an agriculture sector that has stagnated badly.

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Remember these are the same farmers who grow crops for the whole country. Their sons are put on forefront at borders when it comes to guard India. They have every right to protest peacefully wherever within the country they decide to do so. Even the Indian constitution gives them the right to remonstrate. They have assured the authorities that they won’t harm any person or property. Even if they have to stay for a month, they will. Even if they have attained martyrdom, they will. What they are asking is JUSTICE, they are asking amendments in the bill, is it too much to consider?? Jailing them isn’t the solution to the issue. This protest is non-violent. Non-violent protest is every Indian’s right. To my surprise, Delhi Police had sought the state government’s permission to use the city’s nine stadiums as temporary jails to house protesting farmers. Which government vandalizes their own property to stop some protests from happening? Tell me which government jails peaceful protestors? What is the need for extreme measures to be taken because the government itself knows that what they have done is wrong and in favour of the Ambani- Adani alliances? Government don’t want people outside to know about it. Farmers are at the receiving end and who else knows it better than them? They have the right to be heard not just for them, but for all the people across India. It is the time to show solidarity with the people who are growing wheat and vegetables for every countryman.

No matter how much they would be subjected to brutalisation, farmers are determined to reach Delhi and protest against agricultural bills passed by the Modi government. Punjab needs support from other agricultural based states of India. Gradually and slowly, five states have already joined them. We shall expect more states to come forward and agitate. There is a buzz that even Maharashtra farmers are in talk with their unions and associations about their participation plans in future.

Punjab and Haryana, both the states are primarily agrarian states though Punjab has other economic development resources too. They are not dependent on the corporate economy. The agriculture in these states is prosperous. They are independent farmers. They know that the new law can make them slaves to corporate companies and slowly the lands will be taken over by corporate tricks. Now the present central government is working against the interest of majority people and the new laws are the outcome of a blatant colonial mindset. Farmers in several Indian states are protesting against three new bills the government says will open up the tightly-controlled agriculture sector to free-market forces. The bills, passed by India’s parliament this week, will not make it easier for farmers. Part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s agricultural reform policy, the laws will also allow traders to stock food items. Hoarding food items for the purpose of making a profit was a criminal offence in India. Under the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act passed in 1964, it was compulsory for farmers to sell their produce at government-regulated markets, or mandis, where middlemen helped growers sell harvests to either the state-run company or private players. The government says the monopoly of APMC mandis will end but they will not be shut down, and that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) – the price at which the government buys farm produce – will not be scrapped. State governments, which earn an income through transactions at mandis, stand to lose out on tax revenues as trade moves out of state or into the domain of private deals.

Modi, who won elections on a promise of doubling farm income, has been under pressure to bring private investments to an agriculture sector that has stagnated badly. For decades, farmers found themselves driven deeper into debt by crop failures and the inability to secure competitive prices for their produce. Finding them unable to cope, many have resorted to taking their own lives. The agriculture sector contributes nearly 15 percent of India’s $2.9 trillion economy but employs about half of the country’s 1.3 billion people.

In the new bill, government removed the intra state trade barriers but what u think in a country where the average land holding of 86% percent farmer is less than two hectare can the farmer from Assam sell his produce in Kerala it is impractical due or transportation costs its second flaw will be the state govt will not give enough attention to its farmer such as Bihar govt can let their farmers let on the prices being given in Haryana. Farmers would be caught in a vicious trap where they will be left helpless. This is what has created anger in farmers, they do not accept the three new legislations — The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation); The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance; and Farm Services and The Essential Commodities (Amendment). They believe the laws will open agricultural sale and marketing outside the notified Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis for farmers, remove the Since the state governments will not be able to collect market fee, cess or levy for trade outside the APMC markets, farmers believe the laws will gradually end the mandi system and leave farmers at the mercy of corporates. Farmers believe that dismantling the mandi system will bring an end to the assured procurement of their crops at MSP. Similarly, farmers believe the price assurance legislation may offer protection to farmers against price exploitation, but will not prescribe the mechanism for price fixation. Farmers are demanding the government guarantee MSP in writing, or else the free hand given to private corporate houses will lead to their exploitation.

The commission agents and farmers enjoy a friendship and bonding that goes back decades. On an average, at least 50-100 farmers are attached with each arhtiya, who takes care of farmers’ financial loans and ensures timely procurement and adequate prices for their crop. Farmers believe the new laws will end their relationship with these agents and corporates will not be as sympathetic towards them in times of need. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has defended the bills as a way to rid the vast agriculture sector of antiquated procurement procedures and to allow farmers to sell to institutional buyers and big international retailers. But farmers disagree. They say the laws could cause the government to stop buying grain at guaranteed prices and result in their being exploited by corporations that would buy their crops at cheap prices. For the last two months, farmer unions unwilling to accept the laws have camped on highways in Punjab and Haryana states. They have been supported by opposition parties and some Modi allies, too, have called the laws anti-farmer and pro-corporation.


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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for past 16 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazine Beyond The News, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs. Besides journalism, she is also an Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author.
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