INDIA’S FARMER PROTEST -CHALLENGING MODI GOVERNMENT TO REVISIT TWO PRIVATE MEMBER BILL OF 2018

 

by Anukriti Dubey        1 December 2020

As the farmer’s protest is intensifying in India and chants of “Dilli Chalo” are being raised this protest is more serious in nature and posing some serious issues before Modi Government as new farms laws are being looked upon by farmers as nothing but a death warrant to them.

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Initially, farmers cry against the bill were falling deaf to Modi government ears and farmers are not ready to talk now. The two private members Bill presented in parliament in 2018 could be the only way to loosen the deadlock between the government and the protesting farmers. The first private member bill and the second private member bill which was drafted by All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination (AIKSC) and by former Lok Sabha MP Raju Shetty a renowned farm leader was –

  • The first private member bill was ‘The Farmers Freedom from Indebtedness Bill 2018’
  • The second private member bill was ‘The Farmers Right to Guaranteed Remunerative Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Agriculture Commodities Bill 2018’

 

A private member Bill is a bill is introduced by an MP who is not a minister. This bill got support from 21 political parties and the main demands of these bills were the first private bill as the name only suggests talked about farmers freedom from indebtedness it mentions that the government should waive off the loans of all peasants including fishermen, agriculture workers, landless peasants including which also contains declaring of private loan as null and void and creditors payment to be done by government without any recovery from debtors. It also mentions other demands like rights given to all farmers to get institutional credit, one-time loan waiver, to provide protection against debt trap and make provision regarding a farmer facing natural calamity as many farmers in India depend on them and to provide compensation and relief measures to them. Explaining the reasoning behind the bill provisions the makers said as the entire nation is indebted to farmers for food security and its sovereign function and in spite of there contribution there are thousands of farmers committing suicide as they are finding no way out against the distress they are facing and its government responsibility to make provisions for them to benefit which the government is currently lacking.

The second private Bill talks about remuneration it mentions that government to regulate and decrease the price of farms input like diesel, machinery, pesticide, etc. It also says that the government should ensure that all farmers get MSP of C2 + 50% in addition with assess all cost production.

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Both these bills in spite of pressure from farmers who even met the President in May 2018 regarding it are not considered by the Modi Government. The dissent among farmers grew even more as the government has turned blind eye to their situation and completely discarded the bill and farmers issue and the issue presented in both the bill which is same issues in today ongoing farmers’ protest.

The relevance of this bill arises even more as the government needs to break the ice with farmers and also if we see data given by Dr. Swaminathan who said that “Even today farmers are fighting for getting respectable prices for their crop.” According to Jagmohan Singh “Farmers suicide are still continuing due to mounting debts, a result of poor crop prices they are getting.”

As the farmer’s suicide is on the rise and protests still going against three anti farm laws the situation of farmers is as apparent as it could be as there is distress among them but the issues and wants are still the same as that was presented in the bills in 2018. As the things are getting worse in a rural areas with India officially entering into recession and already suffering from the economic, environmental crisis is already worsening a worse situation.

The ignorance and mismanagement by Modi Government have put farmers under a lot of pressure, the government is forgetting the reality that with their introduction of the farms bill it is not going to empower farmers but empower trader’s cartels who are looting right under the nose of government and running the market.

The Modi government need to wake up and work for farmers and be open to changes which are suggested to them, the situation is very critical and the decisions taken will have a serious impact not only on farmers but also on the government and both these private members bill needs to be revisited to loosen the situation.

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