While the government claims that the new legislation will facilitate barrier-free trade of farm produce, farmers want the old system to remain intact. This is why farmers across India are protesting against agriculture bills.
Why Farmers Want the Old System to Remain Intact?
Farmers assert that the new bill would phase out the MSP and the traditional grain market system. Subsequently, they will not be able to avail finances from commission agents for sowing. This will create a problem for farmers as banks are hesitant to lend them. Not only this, but it will also leave the commission agent jobless. That apart, they claim that these bills will give rise to malpractices, including hoarding by private players. They expressed their concerns for the government’s assurance of not withdrawing MSP. Further, regarding the farming agreements with private players, farmers said that it would harm the small and marginal farmers’ interest.
Congress Opposes the Bill
Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh asked the protestors not to stop traffics. However, he assured that no FIR would be lodged for violating section 144. Also, addressing the media, he said that the FIR’s registered would be withdrawn. Moreover, he advised unions to take their protests in Delhi, and the congress will support them.
Farmers Pushed off the Land in the Name of Selling to Anyone, Anywhere
Devinder Sharma, Food & agriculture specialist, has rightly pointed out that if agriculture markets are so efficient then how come US and EU agriculture is still in distress. The USDA asserted that farmers’ income has been on a decline since the 1960s. Despite massive subsidies, several farmers protest across the world to get fair prices. They still have to depend on non-farming activities even in developed nations where agriculture markets work by commodity futures. With no stock limits on big traders and prices determined by commodity futures before planting, farmers will be left to suffer.
What Does India Need?
Farmers fear that new private grain markets will increase their dependence on private corporations, causing irreparable damage to the farming sector. They are right in demanding protection against the volatility of prices. The liberalization of agriculture markets has pushed farmers into a severe crisis in places where it is practice. Such a decision will empower the industrialists to dictate prices, and hence they will squeeze on farmers’ margin to provide competitive prices to consumers.
In all, India needs a robust system of MSP with the encouragement of local production and local procurement. This is will pave the way for the farm sector to become atmanirbhar, providing assured prices.