Three bills on agriculture market reforms, which would change the way agricultural produce is marketed, sold and stored across India, were introduced by the ruling party of the county, for which the provincial government of Punjab was not in favour, as it is one of the most agriculturally based states of the county. As a result, the leader of the provincial government resigned from the post for being against the introduced law.
In the Lok Sabha, the voice of opposition was not considered, and the three bills were passed through the house in a dictatorial manner by the ruling party.
Talking a bit about the bills, they are in a way which will hugely affect small scale farmers. Although the policies are designed to make the agricultural trade more profitable, most of the farmers, around 85% of them, won’t be able to take advantage of it because the policies are not designed to address the actual ground reality of most farmers in the country; also affecting other parts of the economy, such as middlemen and the whole ecosystem in which millions of people where employed. The policies are reluctant to the ground reality of the country’s actual position.
Furthermore, by understanding the bills, it could be easily understood that these new laws are more focused on placing companies and private corporations in a position of exploiting farmers rather than framers benefiting from them. Instead, the states should be focusing more on strengthening existing policies related to farmers, which also have a lot of faults due to lack of amendments; moreover, their rights are not even protected in that regard. So, the farmers want the government to reform the existing laws to make them better rather than changing everything and turning most things against them.
Moreover, the experts and economists are suggesting that the farmers should be paid more and there should be more policies to encourage farming practices rather than completely changing the existing system. An improvement is required, not this transformation.
Now, talking a bit about the revolt against the government for taking these bills back, huge allies from Punjab are coming to the county’s capital city, Delhi, to protest against it. Now, instead of addressing the issues of concerned people, the government is making a full effort to stop the rallies to reach Delhi by blocking roads, barricading, and even being aggressive with people in the rallies, including the assault of many elderly people. Right now, there is no official statement from the government, and people are staying on the roads in the harsh pre-winter season, but the local communities are supporting the rallies and providing all kinds of help to the people.
At last, the whole world is supporting the farmers, who work day and night to put food on their tables. The issue is being globally recognized: In Canada, Jagmeet Singh Dhaliwal MP, recently condemned the acts of the government, and requested to support the farmers in this time of need.
In our Vanier community, we always promote sustainability and social justice; it is rooted in our values and we also believe that social order and peace should be promoted in all communities.
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By Mayank Khurana