Why Indian Farmers are protesting?
Indian farmers have been protesting for over two months now. Mostly the Haryana and Punjab farmers can been in the agitation against the new farm laws outside the Delhi borders at five different places and the Singhu-Delhi border, the most important of them all. Indian farmers have held several round of talks with union ministers but have made no progress in the talks and on Republic Day the agitation turned violent and allegedly the 'Nishan' flag was hoisted at the Red Fort.
The three farm bills which were earlier passed by both houses of Parliament, got he assent by President of India on Sunday, September 27, 2020.
The farm bills 2020 reflect a big structured change attempted by Modi Government with the vision to encourage corporate investments in agricultural investments in agricultural ecosystem to make it lucrative for farmers but farmers think otherwise.
However, the political parties in opposition are opposing these farm bills and find them detrimental to the interest of farms. As such they are organizing demonstrations and rallies against the farm bill across the country. On the other hand, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the bills are not going to override the Minimum Support Price mechanism, and adequate protection of land ownership was in place to protect farmer's interests.
So, what are the three farm bills? And, what they aim?
The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020
Purpose of the Bill: Aims to permit the sale of agricultural produce outside of the mandis (market) regulated by the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) constituted by state legislations.
Earlier: The farmers used to sell few crops only inside the mandis. The MSP wasn't availed by most of the farmers. The MSP wasn't the sustainable or reasonable price in relation to the cost of produce brought to the mandis.
Farmers' Fear: Farmer's fear that they won't be able to negotiate with the corporates and this will result into losing their land and livelihood. The corporates will buy their produce at the price of nickels as their won't be any Minimum Support Price (MSP) and also the dealings outside mandis will be non-regulated and non-taxable.
The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020
Purpose of the Bill: The purpose of the bill is to provide the facility for contract farming.
Earlier: Informal contract farming used to take place i.e. without any legal documents in place.
Farmers' Fear: Farmers fear that this will lead to direct encroachment of land and also exploitation of them.
The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020
Purpose of the Bill: The farm bills to deregulate the production, supply, distribution of food items like cereals, pulses, potatoes, onion and edible oilseeds.
Earlier: The government had created a stock limit on the essential commodities which barred the stocking of the farm produce as the country wasn't able to produce enough food for the masses. Now, country wastes more food every year than many countries like Australia produce because of the lack of proper facility to store it and the legal capacity for same.
Farmers' Fear: The fear is that the corporates would hoard the produce and drive up the prices of essential commodities and may also not buy produce of inferior quality.