Why are Indian farmers protesting? The most important question so far has attracted several global leaders, human rights and environmental activists, and even the UN Human Rights Council. It got massive attention worldwide for so many reasons despite that, many are still unaware of the base of protest. New farm bill 2020 led to the beginning of one of the longest protests in the world’s history.
Learn what is the new farm bill? How does it affect thousands of farmers across the nation? And why has the government not stepped back even after a year-long protest?
What Is The New Farm Bill 2020? Explained From The Scratch
Every year farmers’ laws are revised and changes are proposed for the betterment of the country’s food growers. Last year, The Government introduced three agri reforms that later became a reason for a nationwide protest. These are:
- Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020
- The Essential Commodities Act
- The Farmers (Empowerment And Protection) Agreement On Price Assurance And Farm Services Act, 2020
These reforms were passed in the two houses of Parliament despite the protest by Opposition leaders and farmers. It has also received the President’s assent to become a law. However, the protest from Parliament reached the roads and gradually it turned out as a nationwide protest. Why?
Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait and several thousands of farmers disagree with the Government saying it will destroy their livelihood. How true is it? To understand this, one should know the pros and cons of farm laws.
5 Benefits Of New Farm Laws
All three reforms mentioned in the bill aim to benefit the farmers of India in certain ways. Here are the benefits of farms law described:
1. Will double farmer’s income by allowing them to directly sell their produce outside state-regulated markets at better prices and bargain for the same
2. Aims to remove the cost of transportation
3. Restrict stocking up of several commodities except in certain conditions
4. Opens the door for interested private companies to invest in the agricultural market. This will have dual benefits to both investors and farmers who will receive better facility, infrastructure, and a chance to earn directly from national and global markets
5. Remove the intermediaries between the buyers, marketers, and farmers so that transparency is maintained in the process. It allows the direct benefit to each one involved in the chain.
Disadvantages Of New Farm Bill 2020
If there are so many benefits of the farms’ law, why are Indian farmers protesting? What are they afraid of and why is it called a ‘death warrant’ for farmers?
Following disadvantages of farms law are the reasons:
1. End the MSP– Earlier farmers used to get a minimum support price for their produce which proves beneficial in case of crop failure. New bills will remove the backbone of farmers, bring huge falls in prices, and only benefit buyers forcing them to not buy the crops in such circumstances.
2. Loss of State Revenue– The mandi fees will no longer be applicable that will harm the State Government’s revenue. Punjab alone earns around Rs 3500 crore from mandi tax.
3. Make APMCs unviable– Mandis and other notified Agricultural produce market committees will lose their existence if farm laws are implemented. They fear it would benefit only private firms and investors who may replace the APMCs in near future.
4. Contract Farming– The new law allows farmers and marketers to engage in direct agreement which is assumed to affect the livelihood of small and marginal farmers.
5. Exploitation of Farmers– It is said that big marketers, exporters, and wholesalers may exploit those who are illiterate, small, and unaware of the real benefits of farm laws.
Fearing these disadvantages of farms law farmers are standing tough against the Government demanding to take back the three laws. They are also demanding to continue the MSP system. The protest began with few raising voices and gradually involved thousands more since September 2020.
The government and Major leaders of protest have been involved in several rounds of talks to resolve the issue and slow down the fire of protest but failed to reach any conclusion.