Farmers in India are actively protesting against the three new farm bills passed in September 2020. They are unhappy with the new legislation and call it a sellout of the interest of the farmers to bolster the pockets of corporates. Farmers from Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh have been at the forefront.
What is the new law?
The three farm bills include Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020. Earlier, the state's Agricultural Produce Market Committee safeguarded farmer's rights. It ensured that they are not exploited by the big retailers. The new bill dismantles the role of this committee. Instead of selling their goods at the committee's auction, they will have to directly contact the buyers and sell to multiple states. The reforms are directed towards the growth of the agricultural sector. The government believes that corporate investment will provide more opportunities for local farmers. It will pave a way for them in the national and the global market.
Farmers across the nation are unhappy with the new legislation and call it a sellout of the interest of the farmers to bolster the pockets of corporates. opposition along with the members of Farmers unions across India has termed these reforms as"Anti-farmer". They have taken the issue to the streets. Thousands of farmers have gathered at Delhi's border to protest against the reforms. Tear gas, water cannons, and trenches are dug up on the outskirts of the national capital to control the chaos. Even after several rounds of talks with the government, the issue remains unsolved. December 8th, 2020, was declared a nationwide strike to express discontentment with the new reforms.
What are the farmers demanding?
The farmers want to repel the latest reforms. It will benefit the corporates, they say. They are also demanding an assured Minimum Support Price(MSP). Prior to the recent amendments, the Government of India provided farmers with MSP for every crop they grew. This provided them with a guaranteed investment for the next crop production. It also was always higher than what the market delivered. They are afraid that they might lose it. They are demanding a written assurance that the center will continue MSP. Farmers' union rejected the government's proposal of setting up a committee to look into the matter. They say they won't step back and continue the protest until the government comes to a peaceful resolution to the issue.