The central government brought 3 new agricultural bills in the month of September, which have become law after the President’s approval. But farmers are not getting these laws. He says that these laws will harm farmers and benefit private buyers and big corporate houses. Farmers also fear that the minimum support price of the crop will end.
Many farmers and farmer organizations of different states are continuously opposing all three agricultural laws, especially the farmers of Punjab-Haryana. The farmers of Punjab are waging a continuous agitation in protest. Explain that, apart from the farmers, there was no support in these bills even within the central government and the NDA’s oldest ally Shiromani Akali Dal also separated itself from the NDA in protest. The result was that Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned from the cabinet.
As part of this protest, farmers from Punjab and Haryana have left for Delhi on 26 and 27 November. But due to the sealing of all the borders adjoining Punjab by the Haryana government, the farmers have gathered at Ambala and Karnal borders and are continuously agitating.
What are those three agricultural laws
1. The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill 2020: Its purpose is to allow the sale of agricultural produce outside the mandis regulated by the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs) constituted by various state legislatures. The government says that through this law, farmers will now be able to sell their produce outside APMC mandis at high prices. Will be able to get better prices from private buyers.
However, the government has tied APMC mandis to a limit through this law. The grain markets (mandis) owned by the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) have not been included in those bills. Through this, open discounts have been given to big corporate buyers. Without any registration and without any law, they can buy and sell the produce of the farmers.
Farmers also fear that the government may gradually eliminate the minimum support price, on which the government buys food grains from farmers. But the central government has made it clear that the MSP will not be abolished.
2. Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Price Assurance Contracts and Agricultural Services Bill: The purpose of this law is to allow contract farming ie contract farming. A capitalist or contractor will rent your land at a fixed amount and will produce and sell the crop on their own.
Farmers are strongly opposed to this law. They say that big companies will try to take advantage of the situation of the crop and the situation of the dispute and will not compromise with small farmers.
3. Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill: This law regulates the production, supply, distribution of food items such as cereals, pulses, potatoes, onions and edible oilseeds. That is, there is a provision to exclude such food items from the list of essential commodities. After this, there will be no limit of storage except in emergencies like war and natural disaster.
Farmers say that it is dangerous not only for them but also for the common people. Due to this, there will be no limit for raising agricultural produce. Private investment will be exempt to collect yield and the government will not know how much stock is held and where?
Important demands of farmers
The agitating farmers’ organizations are demanding the Central Government to repeal the three agricultural laws and instead of talking to the farmers, they are asking for new laws. He fears that the new laws brought by the agricultural sector will also go into the hands of capitalists or corporate houses and farmers will suffer. But the central government has made it clear that at any cost the agricultural law will neither be withdrawn nor will there be any alteration in it. The 5 major demands of farmers are as follows…
– All three agricultural laws should be withdrawn because they are not in the interest of the farmers and are going to encourage privatization of agriculture. These will benefit hoarders and big corporate houses.
Through a bill, farmers should be assured in writing that the MSP and the Conventional Food Grain Procurement System will not end.
In addition to agricultural laws, farmers’ organizations are also opposing the electricity bill 2020. The Electricity (Amended) Bill 2020, which replaced the Central Government’s Electricity Act 2003, is being opposed. The protesters allege that the electricity distribution system is being privatized through this bill. This bill will eliminate subsidy or free electricity supply to farmers.
– The fourth demand is about a provision, under which a farmer can face a jail term of 5 years and a fine of up to Rs 1 crore for burning agricultural residues.
– The protesters also want that the farmers arrested in Punjab for charging stubble burning should be released.