The Indian National Congress Party has always been fighting for the rights of farmers and working to empower them. Even today, INC is standing with the farmers, shoulder-to-shoulder, who are protesting against the three black laws unconstitutionally passed by the BJP government – the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Service Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
While the BJP government relentlessly fights against the farmers, calling them “Khalistani,” refusing to repeal the 3 black laws or even acknowledging the death of a large number of hardworking farmers in the protest, the Congress government has sworn to stand by our Annadatas.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has also vigorously backed the farmers who are protesting against the contentious farm laws brought by the Centre. He said, “No government in the world can stop farmers fighting the battle of truth. The Modi government will have to agree to their demands & take back the ‘black laws.’
Major Issues with the 3 Bills –
- Abolishing the system of Grain Market-Vegetable Market i.e. APMC will totally destroy the ‘Agriculture Produce Procurement System’.
a. In such a scenario, the farmers will neither get the ‘Minimum Support Price’ (MSP) nor the price of their crop as per the market price.
- Farmers get remunerative prices for their produce near their agricultural fields at grain market-vegetable market through community organisation of farmers and mutual competition among the customers in the markets. In the market, predetermined ‘Minimum Support Price’ (MSP) is the benchmark to decide the price of agriculture produce. This is the only measure for the ‘Price Discovery’ i.e. price determination for the farmer’s produce on the community basis. Grain-Vegetable Market System is the guarantee of fair prices, accurate weight and sale of farmer’s produce.
a. If the farmer’s crop instead of being sold in the market on Community Purchase basis, is purchased at the agriculture field itself, in that case the farmer will lose the power of price determination, weight and bargaining for prices. Thus, the farmer will suffer the losses.
- The Modi Government’s claim, that now the farmer can sell his produce anywhere in the country, is a white lie. Even today, the farmer can sell his produce in any state.
a. As far the agriculture census 2015-16, 86 per cent of farmers in the country own less than 5 acres of land. Average land holding is 2 acres or less than that.
b. In such a situation, 86 percent of farmers cannot transport or ferry their farm produce to other places, but have to sell at the nearest grain market-vegetable market. In the event of the Mandi System getting abolished, it will lead to a huge blow for farmers.
- The abolition of the Mandi System shall snatch away the means of bread and butter and livelihood of the millions of labourers, commission agents, loaders, transporters, sellers etc.
- Scrapping the Grain-Vegetable Market System will diminish the source of income of the states.
a. States through its earning from ‘Market Fees’ and ‘Rural Development Fund’ undertake infrastructure development in rural areas and incentivise agriculture.
- Agriculture experts believe that under the garb of the ordinance, the Modi Government actually intends to implement the ‘Shanta Kumar Committee Report’ so that the Government is not compelled to make procurement at Minimum Support Price (MSP) through FCI and thereby save an amount of around Rs. 1 lakh crores annually. This will directly lead to an adverse effect on the agriculture sector.
- Through this ordinance, there is an intention to render the farmer merely a labourer in their own lands by getting him entangled in the contract system. Does a poor farmer with 2-5 acres of land holding will be able to frame, understand and sign a sale-purchase contract with big companies?
- Totally lifting the stock limit on the agriculture produce, consumable items and fruit-flower-vegetables shall neither benefit farmers nor the consumer. It will only benefit a handful of people indulging in hoarding and black marketing. They will be able to purchase at cheaper prices and then sell at higher prices after holding the stocks of these items legally,
- In the ordinances, there is neither any provision for the protection of labourers rights nor for the protection of the rights of the persons, who are engaged in agriculture taking land on rent or on produce sharing basis.
- These three ordinances are the direct attack on the federal structure of the country. ‘Agriculture and Mandis’ come under the purview of the State Governments under the 7th Schedule of the Constitution, but the Modi Government didn’t take the state Governments in confidence on this issue.
Main demands of the Congress Party Congress demands that Modi ji should stop cheating and conspiring against our farmers and leave ego and prejudice aside. The government must talk to our annadatas directly, with an open mind to end these three anti-farmer black laws.
Demands of the Congress Party –
- The government should revoke these laws, call a session of Parliament and discuss whether they want to bring reforms. If they are working in the interest of the farmers, then they will welcome this.
- The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, should immediately declare to suspend the three anti-farming black laws.
- The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi himself, who publicly in Mann ki Baat said that these three black laws are right, and the Chief Minister of Haryana, Mr. Manohar Lal Khattar, for calling farmers terrorists should apologize.
- Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi himself should speak to the delegation of the millions of farmers who are sitting around Delhi.
- Announce the immediate withdrawal of 12 thousand FIRs vis-a-vis burning of stubble against farmers without any condition.
- If they want to improve these laws, then they should bring a fourth law, make MSP mandatory and make it punishable if someone does not adhere to MSP.
The BJP government should finally show empathy towards our annadatas, repeal the three laws and provide legal guarantee of MSP to farmers, the same way they have provided services to their suit-boot friends.