Editorial

Farmers’ Protest: Demands, Impasse And Government Response

The Indian Parliament passed three laws in September this year in a bid to allow agri businesses to freely trade farm produce without any restrictions. The bills allowed private traders to stockpile large quantities of essential commodities which can be used for future sales and this also laid down rules for contract farming.

However, over the last 10 days, these laws have triggered protests and here, we will understand why the farmers are protesting and what the government has been doing:

--The protesting farmers believe that these reforms will leave them vulnerable to exploitation by big corporations, and it will also take away all their bargaining power which will in turn, lead to a weakened government’s Minimum Support Price system.

--They also say that these laws will play into the hand of the corporate world and that if this happens, it will be a massive impediment to the farm sector.

--In a bid to make their voices heard and speak out against their interpretation of the law, thousands of farmers have been protesting at Delhi’s borders that has seen snags in traffic to and from Haryana at the Singhu and Tikri borders.

--Not only this, this blockade has always had an impact on the supply of goods from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, as well as Jammu and Kashmir.

--In a bid to control the rampant gathering, the Delhi Police have put concrete barriers and have beefed up security at the Ghazipur and Noida border with Uttar Pradesh even as the farmers and protestors gathered there to make themselves heard.

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--Addressing the issue, the government says that these laws being freedom from all sorts of middlemen – but this has not resonated with the protesting farmers who see these intermediaries as necessary service providers.

--These protesters have camped since November 27 even as police have not allowed them to enter New Delhi as they have placed multi-layer barricades at the borders.

-- Farmers have demanded that the Union government authorise a Cabinet Committee or a Group of Ministers for all rounds of future discussions.

--They also rejected Union home minister Amit Shah’s offer to advance the date for talks which would be held to end the impasse.

--Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Monday came out with the announcement that the government has invited leaders of the agitation for talks on Tuesday.