Farmers are continuing their protest in Delhi border against the three new farm laws passed by the Union government. Several rounds of talks with the government have been inconclusive, with neither side ready to budge. Although the government softened their stance and agreed to amend the farm laws, the farmers do not want anything less than the acceptance of all their demands. What are the farmers’ demands and what has the government agreed to in response to those demands?
either/view has already published an article explaining the merits and criticisms of the three new farm bills. For more context on this issue, read the article here.
The farmers had submitted a letter to the Union government stating their concerns. The major demands mentioned in the document are given below:
- Repeal of these 3 Acts [The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020; and, The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020].
- Make MSP [Minimum Support Price] and state procurement of all crops a legal right of the farmers.
- Implement Swaminathan Commission report to fix MSP with C2 + 50% formula [the M.S. Swaminathan committee had recommended fixing the MSP for crops at levels at least 50% more than the weighted average cost of production. Read about this here].
- Also repeal Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance, 2020 [the Ordinance provides for a five-year imprisonment or a fine of one crore rupees or both against people involved in stubble burning. Read about the Ordinance here].
- Diesel prices for Agri use be slashed by 50%.
- Withdraw all cases against the farmer leaders all over India, Intellectuals, Poets, Lawyers, Writers and human & democratic rights activists. Those who have been jailed in false cases should be released.
After five rounds of talks, the Union government had shared a proposal with the farmers with an offer to amend the laws. Some of these proposals are mentioned below (based on media reports):
- Written assurance for Minimum Support Price.
- Farmers can approach the civil courts to resolve disputes, instead of going to the sub-divisional magistrate as mentioned in one of the new laws.
- Scrapping of the Electricity Amendment Bill, which the farmers had opposed due to the reduction in subsidy.
- Traders would be required to register and verify on government portal in order to make any purchase. This is done to allay the fears of farmers who believe that players in the free market will easily exploit them without the registration process.
- Ordinance on air quality management will also be taken back to allay fears of farmers getting arrested or fined for stubble burning.
- Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) and the free markets will have the same tax rates.
- In case of contract farming, no loans can be taken against farmers’ lands by the contractors. This will allay the fears that big corporates will take over farmlands.
- Cases against farmers and farmer leaders arrested during the protests will be quashed.
Has Modi misjudged popular mood of the middle-class? Is there a distinction between traditional middle-class politics and neo-middle-class politics? The Print has an interesting article on that here.