A Contentious call

Widespread chaos have been witnessed on the borders of the national capital since 26 November as a retaliation that came with the recently passed Farm Bills. The farmers of Punjab and Haryana are protesting against two Farm Bills passed by Rajya Sabha.

  • The Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill 2020, and
  • The Farmer’s (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.

The Trade and Commerce Bill allows the farmers to sell their produce outside the monopoly cartel of Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) regulated markets providing the farmers with more choice regarding who to sell their produce.

The Empowerment and Protection Bill provides with a framework for contract farming enabling the farmers to strike a deal before the production happens. Inter-state or intra-state trade of farmers’ produce beyond physical premise of APMC Markets is also authorized.

The bills enables the farmers to bypass the Essential Commodities Act and vanquish the monopoly cartel of APMC Mandi and sell the produce irrespective of the boundaries and entering into contracts with businessman thus transferring the risk before the yield is produced. These Bills have made the farmer’s upset as they fear that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) that have been acting as a safety net since the Green Revolution might be snatched away.

Government procurements may also be affected due to the introduced reforms. If the government stops buying their produce only the big corporate will be available to sell and farmers show lack of faith in them. Many statements have been given by the government regarding the same but it did nothing assuage the unrest. Protests have taken form of dharnas, Raasta rook, demonstrations and even led to Bharat Band. Casualties are also reported during the protests but what is certain is that the farmers need a strong validation and reassuring statement from the government. Youth worldwide is also showcasing their support and many hashtags are used such as

#SpeakUpForFarmers, #tractor2twitter, #StandwithFarmersChallenge and many more.

A wave of uncertainty and fear is discerned among farmers. Many meetings are being held to bring in a solution. But a very important fact remains that the lack of communication, understanding and inclusion has led to the widespread protest and difficulties being faced by the farmers. A real or a misinformed fear, it is not small.