Farming consensus: On the government and the farmers on protest:

Farming consensus: On the government and the farmers on protest:

News Analysis   /   Farming consensus: On the government and the farmers on protest:

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Published on: February 16, 2024

The Hindu: Published on 15th Feb

 

Why in News:

The farmers' protest, often dubbed as "Farmers Protest 2.0," has garnered significant attention due to its prolonged duration and widespread impact. Originating primarily from the northern states of India, especially Punjab and Haryana, the protest represents a massive mobilization of farmers against the new farm laws enacted by the Indian government. It has become a focal point of discussion, debate, and concern both domestically and internationally, highlighting the complexities surrounding agricultural reforms in India.

 

Farmers Protest 2.0:

The main trigger for the Farmers Protest 2.0 is the passage of three agricultural laws by the Indian government in September 2020. These laws aimed to liberalize the agricultural sector by allowing farmers to sell their produce directly to private buyers and enter into contract farming agreements. However, many farmers perceive these laws as detrimental to their interests, fearing that they will lead to the dismantling of the existing Minimum Support Price (MSP) system and exploitation by big corporations. Consequently, farmers from various states have converged again on the borders of Delhi since February 2024, demanding the repeal of these laws.

 

Main Demands of Farmers:

Repeal of Farm Laws: The primary demand of the farmers is the repeal of the three contentious farm laws - the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.

Legal Guarantee for MSP: Farmers are also demanding a legal guarantee for Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their produce. They argue that MSP ensures a minimum income and serves as a safety net, protecting them from market volatility and exploitation.

Withdrawal of Electricity Amendment Bill: Another demand is the withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill, which seeks to amend the Electricity Act, 2003. Farmers fear that the proposed amendments will lead to higher electricity tariffs, adversely affecting their agricultural operations.

 

What Says BJP Government:

The BJP government has maintained that the farm laws are aimed at bringing reforms to the agricultural sector, providing farmers with more options and opportunities for selling their produce. They argue that the laws will promote private investment in agriculture, modernize the sector, and increase farmers' income. The government has engaged in multiple rounds of talks with farmer unions to address their concerns and find a resolution to the impasse. However, the government has reiterated its stance on the laws, refusing to repeal them entirely but offering amendments and assurances to address farmers' apprehensions.

Overall, the farmers' protest continues to be a contentious issue, highlighting the deep-seated concerns of agricultural stakeholders and the challenges in achieving consensus between the government and farmers.

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