#TrendingNews Blog Business Entertainment Environment Health Lifestyle News Analysis Opinion Science Sports Technology World News
Farmers Protests: Farmers March to Delhi

After two years of year-long protests in 2020, the farmers have again begun marching to Delhi.

In 2021, after the government decided to repeal its proposed farm laws and agreed to talk about their other demands—which included guaranteed prices for goods and the dropping of criminal charges against the protesters—farmer groups decided to end their protest.

But as their demands remain unfulfilled, calls for protest have led thousands of farmers to hit the streets again.

Photo Credit: Shashi Shekhar Kashyap

As authorities barricade the capital, thousands of farmers are marching towards Delhi. Tuesday marks the start of the "Delhi Chalo" protest by the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha and the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political). The aim is to urge the Central government to agree to their demands. Among other things, these requests include the introduction of legislation guaranteeing a minimum support price (MSP) over agricultural products.

To address their concern of securing legislation providing MSP (Minimum Support Price) for their produce — one of the criteria they had set when they declared to end their agitation in 2021— more than 200 farmers' unions have simultaneously called for this march to the nation's capital. Union leaders and government representatives met on Monday but failed to reach an agreement.

Farmers criticised the administration for taking too long to respond to their demands. On February 16, all agricultural activities will be suspended as part of a rural strike organised by the trade unions and farmers.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has imposed many restrictions, including a one-month ban on public processions, under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Similar regulations, which forbid gatherings of five or more persons, have also been implemented by the Haryana government in as many as fifteen districts.

What are the farmers demanding?

The farmers have demanded the following:

Passage of legislation ensuring MSP

At the core of their protest is the fundamental demand for MSP, a security net that guarantees farmers a minimum remuneration for their crops. According to the findings of the Dr Swaminathan Commission, the demand includes passing legislation ensuring MSP for all crops.

The Swaminathan Committee, a government-formed council tasked with resolving difficulties facing farmers, provided the methodology used by the government to calculate the Minimum Support Price. It ensures farmers receive a fair and equal price for their crops. The government declares MSPs for several crops before the planting season. The procuring organisations are advised to buy commodities from farmers at these prices or above. The produce is purchased by the government from the farmers at the agreed-upon price, even if it is unsold on the market. It provides stability and economic security to the farmers by protecting them from market fluctuations.

The MSP was left out of the three farm legislation of 2020, which led to a major point of conflict between farmers and the government. Although the farmers were given verbal assurances by the administration that the MSP system would remain in place, the farmer protest persisted for more than a year before the regulations were ultimately abolished.

The farmers' group claims that when the farmers protested against the three agricultural laws that were repealed, the Centre promised to provide a legal guarantee to MSP. However, due to pressure from the corporate sector, the government is not following through on this pledge.

A complete debt waiver for farmers

Additionally, the farmer organisations have demanded a complete loan waiver. The farmer organisations are pushing for a comprehensive one-time loan waiver without any restrictions on the amount or land ownership, said Darshan Pal, President of the Krantikari Kisan Union, who spoke with the media.

He made it clear that this demand is not new and that an additional three were made after the protests ended in 2021. Among these were demands for loan forgiveness, farmer pensions, and equitable damages for agricultural damage. Demands were made after the protests ended in 2021. Among these were demands for loan forgiveness, farmer pensions, and equitable damages for agricultural damage.

Justice for those affected by Lakhmipur violence and charges against those accountable

The farmers maintain that the victims of the tragedy in Lakhimpur Kheri should receive justice from the Centre. Four farmers, Nakshatra Singh, Gurvinder Singh, Lavpreet Singh, and Daljeet Singh, died on October 3, 2021, in Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh. A convoy of three SUVs, one of which belonged to Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni, struck a group of protestors demonstrating against the Center's farm policies. One of the SUVs was purportedly being driven by Ashish, Mishra's son.

Over 670 people lost their lives during the 2020–2021 farmer protest, according to the Samyukta Kisan Morcha. But when asked if the Centre would offer financial support to the families of farmers killed in the agitation during the Monsoon session of 2021, the government responded, "The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare has no record in the matter, and hence the question does not arise."

Introduce the Land Acquisition Act in its pre-2013 form

The procedure for obtaining private land for public use was regulated by the Land Acquisition Act of 1894, as it was then known. Facilitating the government's acquisition of land for infrastructure and economic projects was the law's main objective.

This Act gave the government the power to buy private land for public use so long as the proprietors received fair compensation. Nonetheless, the Act came under criticism for failing to provide equitable compensation and for not succeeding in sufficiently addressing landowners' concerns. To provide a more thorough and equitable framework for land purchase, the Indian government revised the 1984 Act in 2013 with the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Purchase, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement Act (LARR Act).

Farmers have been rallying against changes for a while now. The farmers claim that the proposed revisions do not fairly reflect the true market price for their pay but were instead primarily designed to profit the real estate industry.

Scrap the Electricity (Amendment) Act 2023

The Electricity (Amendment) Act 2023, which was passed last year, intends to increase fair access for consumers by fostering more efficiency and competition among power distribution corporations. The bill's most contentious amendment permits several power distribution firms to operate in a single area, breaking the monopoly of a single power network.

Farmer groups have expressed concern about further privatisation of the nation's electricity industry since the bill's draft was introduced. They were also concerned about the prospect of losing the electricity subsidies given to farmers.

The farmers have raised issues regarding the guarantee of MSP for all crops, the execution of the Swaminathan Commission's recommendations, debt relief, farmer pensions, and the retraction of proceedings against previous protestors.

In addition to this, they have also called for demands such as India's withdrawal from WTO along with free-trade agreements.

Edited by: Soumya Parija

Share This Post On


Leave a comment

You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in