The farmers’ protest has been going on for almost two months on the three agricultural laws passed by the central government. The farmers were protesting in Haryana-Punjab. Seeing no consideration of their demands, they turned to Delhi, agitating for their demands.
During this time, six visits were held between the government and the farmers. But no concrete solution could be found in it. Despite the government assuring the MSP to maintain the same system, the farmer movement is not ready to end.
The farmers say that we will not end our agitation till the government withdraws all the three laws. At the same time, the government says, it is ready to amend the laws, but will not take it back. Farmers want to make MSP legally binding. So that they can be guaranteed profit on their yield. Apart from this, farmers are also expressing their apprehensions about contract forming. The main demand of farmers in this movement is to enact laws regarding MSP. But the government does not want to make any law on this.
In the 1960s, the government wanted to increase the yield of wheat and paddy to ensure the benefits of the Green Revolution and to meet the domestic demand for food grains across the country. But the farmers were not ready to cultivate it without guaranteeing profit. After which a committee was formed in 1964 under the leadership of LK Jha to fix the price of food grains. Based on the recommendation of this committee, the minimum support price for wheat was first fixed in 1966-67.
Every year since then the government fixes the minimum support price of crops before farming, so that farmers are guaranteed benefits. According to the Swami Nathan Commission report, the minimum support price of the crop was fixed at one and a half times the agricultural cost. It is decided by the government on the recommendation of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). It is a joint committee of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
These recommendations are not binding on the government. Because MSP is not a law. It is a government policy that is implemented at the administrative level. The CACP, in its Price Policy Report in 2018-19, suggested legislation for “The Right to Sale at MSP” for farmers. But the government made no mention of it in the new law. A large section of agitating farmers is angry about this. He is adamant on implementing this recommendation of the CACP in the new law.
The government says that fixing MSP on crops increases its price in the international market, which does not provide buyers of crops in international markets. By giving MSP, farmers produce more of the same crop, which causes the government to buy and store those crops. Apart from this, the government claims that these laws will benefit the farmers in the coming time. It will also be effective in doubling the income of farmers. The farmers’ organizations wrote to the government and proposed to negotiate. In the letter written by united kisan morcha, the process and provision for giving legal guarantee of MSP has been demanded. Along with this, there is an appeal of the farmers to discuss the necessary changes in the drafted ‘Electricity Amendment Bill 2020′.
The agitation of farmers on different boundaries of Delhi entered its second month amid the bitter cold demanding the withdrawal of three new agricultural laws. Meanwhile, the war of words between the BJP and opposition parties intensified. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh attended an event organized after the completion of three years of Himachal Pradesh government. During this, he talked about new agricultural laws and said that the government will never abolish the minimum support price (MSP).
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that efforts to mislead farmers on new agricultural laws will not succeed. Addressing a state-level program to mark the completion of three years of the Jayaram Thakur-led BJP government in Himachal Pradesh, he said that the new agricultural laws would increase farmers’ income, but the Congress was misleading them (farmers). Addressing the program through digital medium, Singh said that whenever reforms are implemented, it takes a few years to show positive results. He said that whether it was the 1991 economic reforms brought by the then Finance Minister Manmohan Singh or other reforms brought during the returned government, it took four-five years to show positive results.
The Defence Minister said, “Similarly, if we cannot wait four-five years to see the positive results of agricultural reforms done by the Narendra Modi government, we can wait at least two years.” BJP president JP Nadda shared an old video of a speech given by former Congress President Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha and said that he was ‘doing politics’ on the agitation against the three agricultural laws. In this one-minute and seven-second video, Rahul Gandhi is seen advocating the need for farmers to sell products directly to factories to protect them from middlemen.
The Defence Minister further said that some people are deliberately spreading misgivings about new agricultural laws to discredit the government. This government never intended to abolish the MSP, neither has nor will it. Mandi system will continue as before. This complete arrangement has been made in the agricultural laws. Breaking his silence on the agitation against the new agricultural laws, he said that the farmers should use this law for at least 2 years to see how useful this law is, then if they feel that the law needs to be amended, the government is ready to make amendments. He said that even today the farmers should talk, and they feel that if there is a need to amend it, the government is ready.
An Article by Saakshi Mayank
Intern, Goa Chronicle