Indian government’s push for new Farm Laws questioned for exploiting farmers

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Indian government is facing a huge protest headed by farmers of the country. Farmer’s union also declared Bharat Bandh on 8th December after several rounds of conversation with Central government, and is supported by leaders of 11 leading opposition political parties including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, DMK Chief M K Stalin, chief of Samajwadi Party Akhilesh Yadav, Sharad Yadav and some others.

Photo: Bhupender Rawat

Indian farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana and farmers union are leading the protest on the outskirts of Delhi because of three new farm laws that are not acceptable by them. Bhupender Rawat, a social activist, national convener of Jan Sangharsh Vahini, national spokesperson of Bhartiya Kisaan Majdur Sanyukt Union (Indian farmer labor union) told Eat News the reasons behind protesting and not agreeing on these farm laws. He said, ”3 new agricultural laws passed by Indian parliament in September 2020 are – First, government allows traders to hoard the goods or can keep a stock of it. Second, famers will be allowed to sell directly to buyers and will let government to enter into contract with private companies as contract farming. Third, before farmers use to sell their crops at auction at their state’s APMC (Agricultural produce market committees) and get MSP (Minimum support price) which is the price set for government to crops. But since the law leads to the elimination of ‘Mandis’ (Vegetable market), farmers will be left with no option but to sell their production to corporations that has the ability to exploit them”.

According to him, hoarding of goods will lead to the shortage of goods and will bring inflation in the market. He mentioned, the essential commodities act 1955 that prohibits hoarding and black marketing of essential commodities and explained how the previous government understood the importance of the act, and the current government giving the permission to do it during the pandemic is completely going over the head. He further added, ”Farmers will not get the buyers and the amount for their production, instead traders with a stock will sell according to their beneficial price”.

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He became the part of protest at Tikri border and Ghazipur. He said farmers are protesting peacefully against lathi charges, water cannon, blocking of roads. ”Leaders of ruling party is putting the blames of influencing on opposition parties, calling farmers Khalistani, anti-nationals, is totally insulting. They are emphasizing the laws that are not even required by the farmers.” Editor’s guild of India also expressed its concern over calling farmers ”Khalistani” and ”anti nationals” without any evidence. The body advised media organizations to display fair and truth and to follow ethical journalism.

Photo: Noori Khan/Facebook

Central government after realizing the agitation among farmers decided to set up a talk with them in Delhi. And since then nothing came out as a result. According to the reports, Farmers were stick to their decision during the round of talks with Central government. Bhupender Rawat told Eat News, ”They are very much clear with their choice and will stick to it”.

The protest has got international attention recently when Prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau address Sikh participants from across Canada on 30th November, the birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak. He said, ”Canada will always be there to defend the right of peaceful protest”. Without wasting any time, bundle of reactions came up including government and some of the media channels. Trudeau’s comment was called, ill-informed, unwanted, interfering in the internal matter of India. Whereas farmers appreciated his expression. Apart from him, 36 British MPs back farmers’ protest.

No doubt country is struggling with several other significant issues that should be taken to the conclusion. According to the latest National sample survey office (NSSO) report, the unemployment rate has risen up to 6.1% during 2017-18. It is almost triple the rate of 2011-12 which was 2.2%. ”Country is already facing unemployment, GDP is going down, women safety is not still prioritized, currency rate is down, poverty is breaking records, Delhi riots is unsolved and they feel need to introduce farm laws, that literally makes no sense”.

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He also mentioned about the petition he filed in 2009 from the behalf of Bhoomi Bachaao Andolan (Save earth protest) in Delhi high court about Indian government should release a white paper that ”How far agricultural land is capable of producing sufficient quantity of crops for the people”. He added, ”The reason I am mentioning it here because now people have realized, farming at any cost is going to become the biggest means of living.”

Keeping in mind new laws, there are other sections like women safety, employment, poverty, reservation that gets highlight. While Indian administration is busy re-framing the agricultural sector of the country, there are other sectors that actually needs whole new frame work of laws.

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Shefali Ranawat is an Eat News correspondent in India. She want to be the voice of people. Also, she aim to be a war correspondent.

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Eat News is a Taiwanese digital media, analyzes current events and issues through column articles, videos, visual aid, and exclusive interviews.

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