Farmers Agitation

Farmers Agitation

Context: Farmers Apprehensions about the new farm laws

Background:

  • Parliament passed three Farm Acts in September to reform the Agriculture sector.
  • The reforms were aimed to make the agriculture sector more efficient and lucrative.
  • However, it had the effect of upsetting large sections of farmers leading to agitation by more than 500 farmers’ unions.
  • Most farmers fear that their precarity will increase as a result of the changes. Farmer leaders have pointed out that the Centre has refused to address their specific concerns regarding the new laws, which they are concerned will render them helpless in the face of exploitative market forces.
  • The Centre has aggravated the issue by rushing through these laws without wide consultation and political consensus.

What were the apprehensions of Farmers regarding new farm bills?

End of the MSP and guaranteed government procurement:

  • The new farm laws give farmers more choices in selling their produce and creates a national market for their produce.
  • This will lead to end of a monopoly market and it will lead to more efficiency.
  • But the farmers fear that the new laws may lead to a dismantling of the MSP and the mandi system, thereby the farmers will have little bargaining power during contracts with private buyers.

End of subsidised electricity:

  • Farmers are also concerned about the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 which might end their access to subsidised electricity.

Way forward

  • The Centre should be open to legislate a guarantee of procurement at MSP which can convince farmers to accept the new laws.
  • Agriculture sector In India must account for uneven environmental factors across different regions. It must balance the interest of the producers and consumers.
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