Farm Laws: To Strengthen or Weaken Farmers?
2020 will be remembered for its struggle against farm laws. All three laws that hurt farmers and were meant to guarantee corporate monopolies in the agriculture sector were withdrawn by the government. In the last few days left to complete one year, the Center is on its knees before the farmer’s struggle on the Delhi border. These are the three agricultural laws that are supposed to benefit farmers but actually hurt them. Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020, Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020, Essential Commodities Amendment Act 2020. Through a single bill, the Cabinet decided to repeal these rules. As far as independent India was concerned, the farmer’s struggle was the biggest agitation in its history. Despite state repression, they continued their struggle fervently. Here is the new hope for the future. The expectations of the food providers in the country. The farmers had decided that they were not willing to back down even if they were beaten or killed, the government had no other choice but to announce it would withdraw the farm laws.
Here are the Three Farm Laws
Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020, Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020, Essential Commodities Amendment Act 2020.
1 Agricultural Products Trade and Commerce Promotion Act
A law that allows the sale of agricultural goods outside the control of government agencies. This was to ensure higher prices for farmers, according to the government. Farmers’ group argued that such a move would pave the way to the end of government-controlled markets and the establishment of corporate monopolies. Although farmers initially receive relatively higher prices from private companies, they will eventually be forced to sell their crops for pennies when the market collapses.
2 Law to Protect and Empower Farmers through Price Assurance and Agricultural Services.
The legalization of contract farming will take place. During the planting process, farmers have the option of entering into contracts with private companies. This means that the crops must be sold to these companies. However, the law does not stipulate a minimum support price. Consequently, small and medium farmers are at risk of exploitation by corporates through contract farming.
3 Essential Commodities Amendment Act
Including edible oils, onions, and potatoes, the private sector is granted permission for unrestricted storage and shipment of essential commodities. By implementing the Essential Commodities Amendment Act and the other two legislations, the agriculture and food industries will be handed over to corporates.
This is the Victory of Unity
The farmers used a method of strike that surprised the government. The police blocked the Delhi Chalo March at the Singhu border on November 26 last year, thousands of farmers went on indefinite strike there. Tents were pitched miles away. Facilitated the provision of basic necessities. Within days, another strike center was opened in Tikri. Worker and farmer solidarity was also strengthened by the agitation against the agrarian law. As a result of the collective leadership of workers and peasants, the struggle could transform from an individual struggle of the peasants into a mass mobilization of all sections of the masses. Farmers were aided by workers and traders. Atta, oil, peas, milk, and ghee came from the villages to make the food. Several feeding centers have opened. The protest centers actively prepared for the extreme cold and intense heat with slogans, songs, dances, and sports competitions.
Memories of Farmers Who Lost their Lives
As a consequence of the removal of controversial agrarian laws, farmers not only won their struggle but also lost their lives. The lives of hundreds of farmers have also been lost. In this long-running uprising, many farmers lost their lives due to aging, heart attacks, car accidents, suicide, and severe cold. It is a pity that a car crash has claimed the lives of some. The majority of the dead were small and medium farmers. Every day, the peasants intensified their fight by rejoicing in the vivid memories of those who lost their lives. Once again, history has shown that organized struggles have no strongholds. There was no way the ruling class could withstand the determination of the farmers and workers. India’s farmers have added a new chapter to its history. With this historic victory, the prediction that the peasant struggle would fail and that the peasant movement was on the verge of collapse was dispelled. Hundreds of lives were sacrificed and millions of farmers were sacrificed to achieve this success. There were more than 700 farmers martyred.
This would have happened if the agricultural laws had been enforced.
- There will be an end to government-controlled agricultural marketing centers.
- Corporates will be able to access the agricultural produce market without restrictions under this law.
- This will lead to hoarding and black market activities.
- It will lead to inflation and artificial scarcity.
- The law promotes contract farming.
- Therefore, even in case of a dispute, the poorest farmers are left to fend for themselves without any form of legal recourse.
- In summary, corporates reap huge profits at the expense of farmers and farmworkers.
Struggled Until Victory
In the end, the victory belongs to the farmers. Ultimately, the farmers are the winners. Farmers have raised a second demand, besides repealing the controversial laws, they want a law that ensures that they receive minimum support prices. The farmer’s agitation in India has proven that the agrarian and labor movements in India are strong enough to resist and defeat corporate exploitation. There is no doubt that peasant struggles will boost the agitation of various sections seeking to protect their livelihoods.
Strengthened the Unity Between Workers and Farmers.
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha started the agitation one year ago, making it the largest popular movement in recent years in India. Farmers went on strike realizing that struggle was the most effective weapon and not suicide. Farmers began uniting in 2014 to protest the Land Acquisition Ordinance introduced by the government. Three years ago, the All India Kisan Sabha led a Long March in Maharashtra which energized the farmers. Agrarian law agitation strengthened the unity between workers and farmers.
The Protests Have Reached an Unprecedented Level of Intensity.
They suffer a lot in the bitter cold, heavy rain, and hot summer. However, it did not dampen their fighting spirit. It is also a remarkable achievement that unity has been formed among the various working peoples. Despite oppression and adversity, the peasants stood up to injustice and won the hearts of many.
All Other Sections and Various Organizations Provided Support.
In the protest areas, there were no shortages of food or basic necessities. Ample food was available in the protest areas as well as other necessities. As farmers, they exhibited amazing organizational abilities by using tractors as houses, setting up camps, setting up community kitchens, and arranging for basic amenities. There are millions of people who attend the historic Masood Kisan Parade on January 26 all over the country. It is the first time since August 15, 1947, that so many people, led by farmers, are celebrating Republic Day.
The Message of the Farmers
Farmers have a clear message and their struggle will continue. Until all demands are met, the struggle will intensify. This determination comes from the concerted effort of the peasants and workers. The Kisan Mahapanchayat in Lucknow and other protests are all part of this. Farmers and workers overcame their fears during this historic struggle. They announced aloud, no matter what happens, we won’t be scared, we won’t be scared, we won’t be scared at all. Even if the sky falls, we will not be afraid, we will not be afraid, we will not be afraid at all.
A Few Words About the Farmer
It is farmers who are the first to get up when the sun comes up and suffer until the sunsets. Have you ever considered a scenario in which there are no farmers or crops? We cannot even think about it. Farmers are extremely important to our society. We get our food from them. Almost all countries in the world rely on agriculture in one way or another. A country’s economy depends in some way on agriculture. The advent of civilization began with agriculture, and agriculture remains a crucial component of humanity today, even as it has changed significantly. In reality, the farmer who feeds the whole population is always in poverty. A large number of farmers commit suicide every day as a result of debt. We are all affected by the problems of the farmers. Our responsibility is to provide the conditions for them to live decently.
The History of the Farmer’s Struggle
- 2020 June 5: The Central Government has announced three Agricultural Ordinances.
- Sept 14: The bill was introduced in Parliament.
- Sept 17: The Lok Sabha passed the bill.
- Sept 20: The Rajya Sabha unanimously passed it.
- Sept 24: Punjab farmers announce a three-day train strike.
- Sept 27: The President approved the bills.
- Nov 25: Farmers from Punjab and Karnataka call for Delhi Chalo Rally.
- Nov 26: Police in riot gear stormed a rally in Ambala, Haryana.
- Nov 28: Minister of Home Affairs says talks will be held if the protest is moved to the designated protest site in Burari.
- Dec 3: Initial discussions of the government with the farmers’ representatives.
- Dec 8: Farmers’ call for Bharat bandh. Support from other states.
- Dec 11: Indian Kisan Union in Supreme Court against farmers’ laws
- Dec 16: The Supreme Court has said that a panel comprising representatives of the government and farmers’ organizations could be formed to resolve the issue.
- 2021 Jan 4: The government remained adamant about not reversing the law. The seventh round of talks also failed to produce a decision.
- Jan 11: The Supreme Court has strongly criticized the central government’s handling of the farmers’ strike.
- Jan 12: The Supreme Court has stayed the implementation of agricultural laws.
- Jan 26: During the Republic Day tractor rally, farmers and police clashed.
- Feb 4: International support for the struggle.
- Feb 18: Samyukt Kisan Morcha detained the train.
- March 6: The strike on the Delhi border has been ongoing for 100 days.
- March 8: In Singhu, there was a shooting at a protest center.
- April 15: Dushyant Chautala, the Haryana Deputy Chief Minister, has asked Sri. Narendra Modi to resolve the issue through talks with farmers.
- May 27: Since the strike began, six months have passed. Strikes will continue if the law is not withdrawn, according to organizations.
- June 26: The Samyukt Kisan Morcha organized a march to Delhi, seven months after the agitation began. Farmers have been arrested in Haryana, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Telangana.
- July 22: Farmers started the “Kisan Sansad” (Kisan Parliament) at Jantar Mantar during the Parliament session. Protest in Parliament over agricultural law.
- Aug 7: The opposition parties joined the meeting and expressed solidarity with the farmer’s protest.
- Aug 28: The police beat the protestors in Karnal, Haryana. A fatal attack took place near the Bastara Toll Plaza and one person was killed.
- Sept 5: Karshaka Mahapanchayat in Muzaffarnagar announces election campaign against BJP.
- Sept7-9: Karnal hosted a Mini secretariat for farmers.
- Sept 11: Haryana government complied with the demands of the farmers. A retired judge was appointed to investigate the Bastara attack
- Sept 27: Bharat Bandh a great success
- Oct 3: Four farmers were killed when the minister’s son drove into them. Nationwide agitation in the following days.
- Nov 19: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that agricultural laws would be repealed.
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