- The farm bill containing three arguable farm laws, which was enacted in November last year, evoked countrywide agitation leading to the irrevocable loss of lives and destruction of public property.
- In a significant development, PM Modi announced that the Centre would take back the farm laws and that the Cabinet would take up the same in the Parliament’s winter session.
- Farmers put up remaining demands to Govt., especially the legalization of MSP.
The three highly disputable farm laws namely, Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 had fuelled nationwide agitation and protests from farmers, especially those from Haryana and Punjab.
The farmers dreaded that passing of the former laws would nullify the Minimum Support Price (MSP) that is guaranteed by the Government on certain selective crops, subjecting them to the pity of big corporations. November 25th marked the initiation of public outcry when farmers marched towards Delhi (as a part of the ‘Delhi Challo’ campaign) and demanded the complete annulment of the laws.
After almost a year of protests, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Government will take back the agriculture laws and also urged the farmers to abandon the agitation and head home. The farmers, however, have written an open letter to him outlining their pending demands, particularly mandating MSP. They also communicated that the protests would not cease until the entire matter is settled. The upcoming winter session of the Parliament will supposedly be taking up the withdrawal of the farm bills.
In the meantime, The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), umbrella body spearheading the farm agitation, has conducted a press conference at Delhi’s Singhu Border in which it communicated that the unions would pursue the protests adhering to the schedule and that a pivotal meeting would be held on 27th November.
A mahapanchayat is to be held on Monday in Lucknow which would be attended by several farm leaders, including Rakesh Tikait, the national spokesperson of the Bharatiya Kisan Union from UP. The unions also plan on commemorating Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Diwas thereby marking Sir Chotu Ram’s birth anniversary on November 24th.
Two days from then, they will hold a ‘Dilli Border Morche Par Chalo’ accompanied by tractors across the state to mark the first anniversary of the first arrival of farmers from Punjab and Haryana at Singhu. Starting 29th November, the SKM is arranging to send 500 protestors every single day to the Parliament for protesting during the winter session.
The open letter that the farmers have written to the PM emphasises numerous issues in addition to a legal mandate for MSP. The Electricity Amendment Bill has also been discussed in the letter. Demands for action against the Union Minister, Ajay Mishra over the Lakhimpur Kheri killings have also been communicated in the letter.
The letter also highlighted disappointment over the absence of proper announcements relating to their pending demands and also desired a memorial of over 700 farmers who lost their lives in the course of the protests. It also demanded the instant withdrawal of action against the protestors who were charged with hundreds of cases starting June 2020 in Delhi, Chandigarh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, etc.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution who directed the administration of the farm laws have initiated the repeal procedure for the three bills.