Farmers mainly from Punjab and Haryana have being protesting against the 3 new farm laws since 26th November in New Delhi. In doing so, 70 farmers have died and the rest have found a refuge in an under construction mall in Singhu. Their main concern are the laws and the legal aspect of MSP.
The Government had defended by terming the Farm Bills 2020 as a watershed moment in the history of Indian agriculture, empowering millions of farmers. The move would widen the scope of trading instead of repealling the provisions of the other farm acts. Their trading area would expand outside APMCs digitally and physically. They would have the choice to decide the sale price of their produce and would lower the risk of distress sale. Under new Farm Laws 2020, all the dues of the farmers must be cleared within three days of procurement, failing which, the farmer can lodge a complaint.
Keeping in mind the importance of farmers and the upcoming Republic Day, the government invited farmers’ Union Leaders to work out a peaceful solution through deliberation. There have being 7 round of talks and all came out be inconclusive except the issues of decriminalising stubble burning by excluding farmers from the ambit of the ‘Commission for the Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance 2020’, and drop those provisions of the draft Electricity Amendment Bill, 2020, which intend to change the existing mode of subsidy payment to consumers; to which the government has agreed. The government has also proposed a rural development cess outside the APMCs on the trade in farm produce.
In the discussions so far, both sides stood adamant with the government taking a soft stand in the last round. It called for clause wise discussion but the Farmers’ Leaders did not give in and called on for no talks less than the repeal of the laws and granting legal status to MSP. Agitating leaders also threatened to march on a ‘Tractor Parade’ in front of Chief Guest UK PM Borris Johnson on Republic Day if their demands are not met.
The government has invited the leaders for the next round of talks on 8th January. It will be wise if both parties hold a meaningful and conclusive discussion considering the farmers’ lives and time lost, resources stuck and benefit of the entire country.