Farmer’s Protest

This article talks about the farmer’s protest regarding three bills that pertain to agricultural marketing reforms in the parliament.

Farmers from various states such as Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh are protesting against the three farm bills.  They have surrounded national capital borders and made a call for Bharat bandh on 8th December.

Reason behind farmer’s protest

  • Farmers do not accept the three new legislations due to various factors.Their  major demands are either to withdraw the three legislations or guarantee them the minimum support price (MSP) for their crops by introducing a new law.
  • They fear that the laws will open the gate to private players for agricultural sale and purchase outside the APMC mandis , remove the barriers to inter-state trade, and provide a framework for electronic trading of agricultural produce.
  •  Moreover, state governments will not be able to collect market fee, cess or levy for trade outside the APMC markets, this would gradually end the mandi system and leave farmers at the mercy of corporates.
  • Farmers have fear that dismantling this mandi system would bring an end to the assured procurement of their crops at MSP. To overcome this feat, they are demanding the price assurance legislation, which will offer protection to farmers against price exploitation.
  • Such assurance would provide security and corporate won’t have the free hand which will lead to their exploitation.
  • The arhtiyas (commission agents) and farmers have close bonding and these commission agents provide monetary support to farmers in their thick and thin. On an average, at least 50-100 farmers are attached with each arhtiya, who ensures timely procurement and adequate prices for their crop.
  • There is widespread fear that the new laws will bring a contract system (where Private players won’t be empathetic like commission agents) which will end their organic relationship with these agents based on trust, which  is built in many years .


Constitutionals provisions

  • Under Article 246 of the Constitution the State List – Entry 14 – “agriculture” and  entry 28  – “markets and fairs” .
  • Entry 42 of the Union List empowers the Centre to regulate “inter-State trade and commerce”.
  • Trade and commerce “within the State” is under entry 26 of the State List, but it is subject to the provisions of entry 33 of the Concurrent List – under which the Centre can make laws that would prevail over those enacted by the states.
  • Entry 33 of Concurrent List deals with  trade and commerce in “food related items.

Who are those various farmers unions?

  • There are various national and regional farm unions, comprising many leaders, who have joined hands under the umbrella banner of Samyukt Kisan Morcha.
  • They are  Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan , Jai Kisan Andolan , All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha, All India Kisan Sabha,  Hannan Mollah, Krantikari Kisan Union, ASHA-Kisan Swaraj and Kiran Vissa, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha Chandrasekhar, National Alliance for People’s Movements led by Medha Patkar, Lok Sangharsh Morcha, etc.


New agricultural reforms 

The Government with the aim of transforming agriculture in the country and raising farmers’ income have passed three important legislation from Parliament.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020

  • The Act provides freedom of choice related to sale and purchase of produce.
  • The farmers need not to pay any cess for sale of their produce under this Act.
  • There will be a separate dispute resolution mechanism for the farmers.


The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020

  • Aims to provide for a national framework on farming agreements that protects and empowers farmers to engage with agri-business firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters or large retailers for farm services.
  • Empower farmers for engaging with processors, wholesalers, aggregators, wholesalers, large retailers, exporters etc., on a level playing field without any fear of exploitation.


The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020:

  • This will deregulate the cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potatoes.
  • Lessen the fears of private investors of excessive regulatory interference in their business operations.
  • Any limits will be imposed only in exceptional circumstances such as war, famine, extraordinary price rise and natural calamity.


How did matters escalate to this situation?

  • When the three farm laws were passed in Parliament and enacted by the Centre, the Punjab Vidhan Sabha convened a special session and not only rejected the centre farmer legislation  but also passed three farm amendment Bills removing Punjab from the ambit of the central laws. All major parties of Punjab supported this move.
  •  Since then a spiralling effect has been started, after Punjab did this, farmers in Haryana also sought the same relief from their government. The Chief Minister of Haryana held talks with certain farmer unions, but failed to convince them of the new central laws. When farmers saw redressal of their grievances, decided to march towards Delhi and mount pressure on the Union government.


What has been the response of the governments at the Centre, Haryana and Punjab so far?

  • In Haryana, except for the ruling party BJP and its ally JJP, all political parties are backing farmers in their protest.
  • Farmers have full support in Punjab from all major political parties. That was the reason farmers in Punjab kept protesting, blocking rail and road networks.


Way forward

  • Coordination: The centre should reach out to all farmer unions and listen to them and find the way so deadlock can be broken.
  • Standing committee recommendations: The Standing Committee recommended that availability of a transparent, easily accessible, and efficient marketing platform is indispensable to increase the income of farmers and make agriculture practices profitable and less exploitative in nature.


Issue of Naga Insurgency

Important Inscriptions of Ancient India


Leave a Comment