Repeal the new Farm Laws | No Farmers, No Food, No Future!
Repeal the new Farm Laws | No Farmers, No Food, No Future!
“These deaths of farmers are murders as the government has turned insensitive towards its own anndata.”
Appeal to the Future of the Great Nation
As this nation's future, it has become our prime responsibility to stand against the wrong and look for solutions aligning with all the stakeholders involved. Moreover, it’s apparent that today’s farmer is facing agnostic conditions. We try to be a part of their struggle and hope that their misery ends very soon with abolishing the new Farm Laws.
Intro – We are a group of IIM Ahmedabad students. For the past 1 year, we are observing continuous protest over the newly amended farm Law. Bill faced massive resistance from the farmers as they have taken it to the streets. In major agrarian states, bandhs were observed with blocked roads and mass rallies. Some people are also concerned about the role of a small number of intermediaries in agricultural marketing being diluted.
Agriculture is susceptible to seasonal variations. The crop collapses when the rains fail and the temperatures rise rising the produce prices along with the inflation. This helps just a few well-off farmers who have guaranteed irrigation and who have plenty of surpluses. The majority of farmers are not self-sufficient, with 86% farming less than two hectares of land. They must purchase during the lean season since their own resources are depleted. As a result, most agriculturists suffer during a drought since their product is scarce and they must purchase their supplies at exorbitant prices.
Most farmers, therefore, have no excess to tide them over and are always in debt. They do not have enough money to invest in the agricultural cycle while still meeting the family's basic needs. They are trapped in a vicious cycle of borrowing.
Most farmers do not get the MSP (or fair price), particularly small farmers who are vulnerable in the market and are forced to sell at prices lower than the MSP. Their precarious situation stems from a lack of excess to fund production (and consumption) without borrowing. Farmers are asking that MSP be made legally obligatory on everyone as a result of the market downturn.
What effect will the new legislation have?
New laws will transfer ownership of agricultural products to larger capital owners — corporations. They are profit-maximizing companies that will take whatever the middlemen were taking from the farmers and go even farther since they have no local social connections. They would also prefer not to deal with a big number of small farmers that have modest surpluses to sell. They would rely on current middlemen to act as aggregators. As a result, small farmers would face greater exploitation. Even if the new legislation do not abolish MSP, it will become meaningless for a substantial percentage of farmers. APMC will continue to exist, but they will gradually become obsolete as large corporate purchasers step in with huge sums of money. The large corporations have been growing into farm product retailing for many years, and they wish to expand even more now that e-commerce is quickly progressing in the coronavirus-affected sector. They are the beneficiaries of the three bills, NOT THE FARMERS.
Clearly, the overwhelming majority of farmers are not free agents who may exercise 'option' to do what is best for them in theory. Furthermore, the agricultural product market is not free but is interconnected with other markets, such as the loan market. Traders or lenders with money take the excess from farmers in order to keep them in their grasp. It's no surprise that, despite everything the government has done over the past 70 years, the lot of small and marginal farmers has hardly improved. This is attributable to more than just bad policy execution.
Govt's current stance
The prime minister has recently promised farmers that the minimum support price (MSP) system would not be abolished and that the Agricultural Produce Market Committee mandis will be made more competitive. However, the gap between farmer and government positions is widening.
It is stated that farmers would be liberated from the clutches of middlemen (arhtiyas and merchants) who exploit farmers by pocketing a significant portion of the produce's price. It is claimed that APMC is the issue and that the agriculturist would be liberated from its grip. However, it is also claimed that neither the APMC nor the MSP would be abolished, giving farmers more options. They may sell their product wherever they can obtain a better price, whether within or outside the APMC.
Ministers have attempted to minimize the movement by frequently characterizing it as involving just one state or as being fueled by arthiyas or foreign powers. Farmer leaders have been harassed in many locations, and penalties have been sought. These allegations and acts distract attention away from the legitimate concerns highlighted by farmers, namely their income and the price they get for their products. These problems must be dismantled.
Why we need to sign the petition:
What happened before –
The apprehensions regarding the farm bill stem from the initial experience in Himachal Pradesh around a decade back when corporates entered the fruits and vegetable market and initially though the produce was bought at fair prices above the MSP, gradually as the corporates buying power increased, the corporates began buying from the Mandis and the farmers were given low prices. Further, cold storage for the produce was created for the corporates but not the farmers, and hence the conditions were not conducive to farmers' development and growth. Similarly, the farm bills are posing doubts in the minds of the farmers for the remuneration that they will receive for their crops. The reforms for farmers initiated by the Centre begs us to ask the question if, in a similar fashion, corporates will push up the prices in the initial years and eventually take away the power from the marginal farmers.
Drawing from the past experiences of Himachal Pradesh and Bihar it is required that agriculture in India needs holistic reform that will allow a significant change such as non-farm employment, living wage to workers, remunerative prices for crops, and, pricing of inputs and taxation.