The farmers’ protest began a year ago. How has it lasted this long?

Topic: Marketing of Agricultural Produce and Issues and Related Constraints 

Context: The farmer protest movement against three Acts passed by the Parliament has sustained itself for more than six months. Article discusses the plausible reasons behind it. 

Why has the farmer protest movement lasted this long? 
  • Support from the hegemonic agrarian class of Punjab: This class which has ruled this state since the mid-’60s in the post-Green Revolution phase has joined this protest. This section of the society has an abundance of human and material resources. 
  • Why are they supporting the movement? – Land, for this agrarian class, holds social and cultural value. The acts passed by the Parliament have reinforced their fears over the weakening of their control over the agricultural economy. 
  • Support from other sections of the society: It has enormous support among retired and even serving civil servants, teachers, students, civil society activists, artists and professionals.  
  • Protest is for survival: Earlier agrarian protests in the ’80s revolved largely around the enhancement of support prices, institutionalised credit system, regular supply of inputs on subsidised rates, etc. Those protests used to threaten to stop the supply of food-grain to other states. Whereas now the crisis is privatisation of agricultural operations and of food-grain not finding a market. This protest is for survival. 
  • Upcoming elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh: Another reason for its longevity is the forthcoming election in early 2022 in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. This explains the desperation of political parties, to support this agitation. In Punjab, it has provided an opportunity to the present government to overcome anti-incumbency. Knowing well that the state assembly has no powers to nullify the central Acts and introduce their own Acts to regulate agriculture trade, the state govt of Punjab did exactly that. 

There is an urgent need to overcome the uncertainty in public policy and revisit the market centred growth model to ensure food security for the poor, food sovereignty of the country, and income redistribution policies for marginalised populations including farmers. 

Terms to know 
  • Three Agri-laws passed by the Parliament 
  • MSP 
  • APMC 

SourceThe Indian Express 

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