All the three agricultural laws will appear again before the nation and then hopefully, will remain for good and for the good of the farmers too. Agriculture Minister NarendraTomar states – ‘‘We have taken a step back, and now will move forward after a while’’. And this enraged the so-called farmers’ leader, Rakesh Tikait who warned in response saying –‘‘We will then start the movement again!’’
It appeared a shocking statement as far as the ‘farmers’ agitating against the laws whereas it was a happy news for rest of the farmers. Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has given a statement on the withdrawn agricultural laws. During a public function in in Nagpur, Maharashtra, Tomar said that the Agriculture Act was the biggest reform brought after 70 years of independence. Unfortunately the government has to withdraw them after some people protested. He then said that we have definitely taken a step back siting some compulsive reasons. But we will move on again. The government is not disappointed and we are looking ahead. We have to keep Farmers’ welfare intact as they are the backbone of India.
On the other hand, it does not seem an issue of the farmers of India but a Baratiya Kisan Union issue against Bharatiya Janata Party. The BKU after this statement of the Agriculture Minister, in the evening did not miss the opportunity to warn the Government. The spokesperson Rakesh Tikaitmade the statement which is more a warning saying – The farmers’ movement has also not over yet, we will resume it again if something of this kind happens!
On the way to Jaipur from Agra, Tikait spoke to the media in Dausa. Tikaitmade his opinion clear and said, the central government has repealed only three agriculture laws, other demands of farmers' organizations are still unaddressed there. Tikait said, ‘‘We the Farmers of India want the government to accept all our demands!’’
After the second week of the eleventh month on November 19, the Government has announced the withdrawal of the law for some unknown reasons behind the curtain. Now the government has made two points very clear with this new strategy which might worry its rivals. One is this that the repeal of the laws was not actually a step keeping the UP Polls 2022. And the second point is this that the Government has not changed its mind over the laws and it had not changed earlier too. Or in other clear words, the Modi’s decision are firm decisions which are not meant for withdrawals.
And one more thing seems to be crystal clear that the brainstorming over the three laws has not been stopped yet. And the new countenance of the three laws in the House will be even with stronger shine on it.
If you are reading this article, it means you are already informed that on November 19, 2021Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address during the occasion of Prakash Parv of Guru Nanak Dev, had made this announcement informing the countrymen about the withdrawal of all three agricultural laws. Not the announcement but the withdrawal had shocked people. And that shock was heavier than this time. Upon the withdrawn of the Laws in Parliament, the President gave his final nod on December,01, 2021 and then the laws were considered perished finally. The consideration of the political analysts presented it as a big bet of the government prior to the state polls of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
The longest farmers’ agitation
It was the longest farmers’ agitation in Indian history which kicked off on September 17, 2020 and winded up on November 19 2021. On the borders of Delhi this protest was against the three new agricultural laws that were implemented on 17 September 2020. It’s said that around seven hundred farmers lost their lives in this one-year long agitation. But this seems truly a fake number because if it would have virtually happened, the farmers would have attacked New Delhi. If some farmers are sitting in the agitation and then they go home and unfortunately die for some reason- it should not be listed as the farmers agitation death.
None of the farmers sitting in the agitation seemed worried about Covid19 during the epidemic spread in India. They deliberately did not take care of Corona or Corona regulations as asked by the government to prevent the pandemic virus. Everyone around the country followed the Corona protocol with mask and gaps as much as possible gathering no crowd or even functions were also seen with a very less number of people present. On the other hand the farmers’ agitation did not worry about it at all. Hence, if they die of Corona – who should be held responsible?
Reality is this that the spark of themovement from Punjab could not spread throughout the country. Thousands of farmers marched to Delhi demanding complete repeal of the law as part of the 'Delhi Chalo' campaign and these farmers were mainly from North India. Only the farmers of Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan states had laid siege to Delhi for around 378 days on the borders of the National Capital.
In Haryana, the process of withdrawal of cases filed against farmers started during the KisanAndolan. Earlier, the government had written a letter to the Superintendent of the Police and District Attorney of all the districts of Haryana expecting opinion regarding the cases. After getting the opinion, now the government has ordered the District Deputy Commissioner to withdraw the case.
Let us now journey through these Kisan-cases. Out of a total of 276 cases registered against farmers in Haryana, four cases are of murder and rape and these cases will not be returned. Out of the rest 272 cases, the chargesheets of 178 cases are pending in the court. Fifty seven cases were found untraceable, so these will also be returned. The process of cancellation of twenty-nine cases has been started and cancellation report of eight cases is ready now.
Issues with consensus now
MSP: The Central Government is going to form a committee, whichwill include participation of the representatives of the United KisanMorcha. The crops on which the MSP is being received at present will remain as it is. The amount of purchase made at the MSP too will not go down.
Haryana, Uttar Pradesh government have given consent for returning the case. The cases registered by the Railways with Delhi and other Union Territories are too going to be returned right away.
Compensation demand has also been agreed upon in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Like the Punjab government, a compensation of 5 lakh will also be granted here.
The electricity amendment bill will not be directly taken to the Parliament. First of all, it is going to be discussed among all the related parties including the farmers.
Farmers did not agree to objectto section 15 in regard to the pollution law, where the provision of fine did not imprison the farmers. This is going to be removed by the Modi government.
After the announcement of Prime Minister Modi to return the agricultural law, the farmers celebrated at the sites of the strike knowing that the elements unapproved by them in the three agricultural laws are going to go for good. Here are the prime points which weaved controversy around the three laws:
The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020
Let us see what the government’s point of view is. The government calls it has such an eco-system, where farmers can sell crops at any place they wish to. Intra-state and Inter-statebusinesses can do business with no hassles. Even the business is possibleoutside the purview of the APMCs of the states. At the same time selling the crops is possible through electronic trading. In the areas where farmers have surplus crop, they will get profitable price in the related states. On the other hand the states facing the shortage, are going to get the goods at a lower price.
Now the objection also needs to be clarified. Farmers used to get fair price for their crops from their mandis. This process does regulate the market. The states also get benefitted withthe income through the mandi fee, from which basic facilities are provided for the farmers. If the mandis will not be there,then the farmers will not receive the MSP i.e. Minimum Support Price.
The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020
This also has not been actually clear to the farmers agitating. As per the government, the risks related to farming is not going to turn to the farmers, but to those who make agreements with them. Contract farming is going to get a national framework. Farmers then will be capable of selling the crop to agri-business companies, processors, wholesalers, exporters as well as the big retailers at mutually fixed prices through entering into agreements with them. In case of a dispute, there is going to be an effective system for its settlement within the given time limit.
This agreement is a written agreement which will include the terms and conditions concerned with the supply, quality, grade, standards and price too. Even if the price of the crop is low, the farmers are going to receive the guaranteed price on contract basis. One more provision is also there which is the provision for bonus or premium.
The point of objection in this law by the farmers seems to be a little complicated. This law does promise to protect against exploitation of prices, but what about a mechanism to fix prices? That is absent there.The fear here doubts that this will give private corporate houses a legal opportunity to exploit the farmers. The unorganized agriculture sector is also the fear of thecritics. In this case when it comes to fighting the corporates, the shortage of the resources disappoint badly.
Essential Commodity (Reform)
This was kind of a law which would have proved revolutionary to the Indian farming. I might have helped in modernization of cold storage and food supply chain. This would also have supported in maintaining price stability for the farmers and also for the consumers. The stock limit would have been applicable only in case the prices of vegetables get double or the retail price of the non-perishable crop gets increased by 50%. Cereals, oilseeds,pulses, edible oils, potatoes and onions were deleted in the list of essential commodities. This would end government control over production, movement, storage and distribution. In war, natural calamity, extraordinary rise in prices along with various other circumstances, the central government would have held control.
Now the objection point here seems a little confusing over this Law.As the then Punjab CM, Captain AmrinderSingh opined that with the removal of regulation on food items, exporters, processors and traders can hoard during the harvest season. He says, this is going to lead to volatility in prices and also the food security will be eliminated fully. Farmers think the states will not even know how much stock of which commodity is in the states which can invite an increased rate of black marketing of essential commodities simultaneously.