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FARMER BILL SCARED US, NOT COVID-19: FARMERS

Author: Satya Bhama, IV year of B.A., LL.B. from Lloyd law college



INTRODUCTION

On 17th September2020, the three-farmers bill was passed in Lok Sabha after the heated debate. Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla passed the farmers bill with lots of disagreement of many parliament members. After that the bill was passed to Rajya Sabha and approved by them too. Most farmers of Punjab and Haryana disagreed to accept the bill and found it as discriminatory against them. At that juncture many coalition organisations came forward in Punjab and announced an agitation which is named as “Rail Roko” expedition for the period of three days which started from September 24 to September 26, 2020. They announced that if the farm bill was taken back then they will also finish the “Rail Roko'' expedition,but just after that the president of India Mr. Ram Nath Kovind give his assent to farm bill on 23rd of september2020 which directly means that the bills is basically the acts or the law which is passed by the union government. Then the “Rail Roko'' protest was continued and many developments occur during this period like, NDA losses his oldest ally (SAD) Shiromani Akali Dal walks out of NDA in support of farmers and protested against the bill.Then after that Punjab passes its own agriculture Bills on October 20,2020.[1]


FARMERS PROTEST

After that the farmers lifted the “Rail Roko”blockade from November 23, 2020 and announced a new campaign named “Delhi Challo”. However, the Punjab protests were a peaceful protest and there was no sign of fights and brutality is shown between the Punjab police and the Punjab government. Farmers came to Delhi borders and Haryana borders to enter in Delhi but stopped by the police. Haryana seals all the state borders and blocks Guru Gram, Faridabad roads to stop farmers from protesting in Delhi. Delhi and Haryana police use barricades to stop the farmers, but farmers break all the barricades and try hard to enter Delhi for protest. Haryana police use water cannons on farmers in Karnal to stop them.


Delhi police used tear gas, water cannons on farmers then also farmers did not move backward and tried to enter Delhi. Delhi cops demand 9 stadiums from Delhi government use it for temporary jails to use it for farmers but Delhi government denies this demand. And the farmers are still on the road and the protest is still continued.


India Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Damodardas Modi came in strong defence of agricultural law he said: the changes met the long pending demand of the agriculture sector and a new set of rights. In the monthly radio address “Mann Ki Baat'' he said the reforms had open doors of new possibilities and urged those studying and researching agriculture to go to village and create awareness about the new laws and aim to offer more option for sale and also set out rules to protect farmers.[2]



THE THREE FARM BILLS

During the pandemic situation there are thousands of farmers on the road and protest for the three farm bills should be taken back.But on the other side the government said that the three agricultural laws are passed for the benefit and development of the farmers.


The first Bill is “The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill” which provides farmers’ the complete open up the sale of produce outside agriculture market committees, or the APMCs. It not only creates an e-highway for trading or transaction but also create structure for e-trading of agriculture produce. But farmers deny to accept the bill, from the farmers point of view, the state will lose revenue as they won't be able to collect the “mandi fee” if farmers sell their produce outside the registered APMC markets. And it may eventually end the (Minimum support price)MSP-based procurement system.


The second bill is “The Farmer(Empowerment and protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Service Bill” which provide a template at the national level of framing agreements, with regard to Agri business, processing and the entire range of service including wholesaler exporter and large retailers for sale of farming produce at a mutually pre agreed price. But farmers do not agree with this bill and said that this bill creates disputes, the sponsors may not like to deal with small and marginal farmers. Farmers in contract farming arrangements will be weaker players in terms of their ability to negotiate what they need.


The third bill is “The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020” the provision provides to remove commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseed, onion, potato from the list of essential commodities. It will do away with the imposition of stock holding limits on such items except under extraordinary circumstances like war. This provision brings farm investment for farm infrastructure like cold storage and modernising the food supply chain. It helps both farmers and producers by bringing in price stability. But by farmers point of view, price limits for extraordinary circumstances are so high that they are likely to be never triggered, Big companies will have the freedom to stock commodities- it means that they will dictate terms to farmers which may lead to less price to cultivators.[3]


WHY THE FARMERS ARE UNHAPPY WITH THE BILLS?

Most sections of the industry and key stakeholders in the Agri trade reckon that the farm bill is progressive and visionary and a definite step towards realising the mission of doubling farmer income by 2022. But the Bill led to agitation among a faction of farmers primarily raised and wheat growers in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh. Farmers find this bill as a discriminatory decision against them.


As we know that thousands of farmers are still on the road during the pandemic situation, one of the biggest fears is COVID-19 which is on the third stage in Delhi. Daily thousand of covid-19 cases are coming and there is no sign of precautions in the farmers protest which may cause a disastrous condition if they continue to protest like this.


Farmers said that they are not scared of covid-19 but they are scared of the discrimination which is done by the central government. [4]


FARMERS PROTEST DURING PANDEMIC

As we all know that the farmers' protest is still going on at the Sindhu and Tikri borders. Thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana are protesting to enter the capital city for the farm bills 2020. The cold weather and the covid-19 make the situation worse for the farmers. At least 22 protesters have died during the farmers protest at Delhi border over the past 20 days. The death occurred mainly due to the cold wave condition.


It is shocking that after so many deaths of farmers, governments are sticking to their decision of “no repeal”.

[5]


CONCLUSION

Indian agriculture minister Narendra Tomar had brought forward a meeting with representatives of farmers because of the coronavirus pandemic and extreme cold weather. However talks broke down as farmers rejected the government pitch for the committee to address the concern. With the result of all the efforts from both the side of farmers and government failed to come to some conclusion of the situation. And as a result the farmers are still protesting on the borders.

[1]https://www.india.com/news/india/farmers-protest

[2]https://www.indiatvnews.com/news/india/delhi-chalo-march

[3]https://advocatetanmoy.files.wordpress.com/2020

[4]https://www.dw.com/en/indian-government-to-continue-talks-with-farmers-