Commentary

The Farm Laws Conundrum

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By Sauro Dasgupta

The decision of the Government to postpone the implementation of the farm laws soon after a stay order from the Supreme Court has been very disheartening. Now in case the government decides to abrogate of the farm laws, all laws such as abrogation of 370, CAA, abolition of Triple Talaq, etc may be asked to be withdrawn by a section of the Opposition and several pressure groups that are up in arms against the government on these issues. This will allow dent our resolve towards laws like Uniform Civil Code (UCC) and Population Control Bill (PCB).

All these laws have a purpose- to benefit the most helpless people among the population of our country. Global forces hijacking every protest against the government and laws enacted by the Parliament is not omissible.

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The government must give our people choices to directly do whatever they can to improve their lives. They must be resolute in their commitment to helping our people. The old guards must not be allowed to manipulate our people any further. Now the power must belong to the people alone. Their choices must be respected.

The farm laws don’t permit any anti farmer activity on the part of corporate world. The government, after extensive talks with the farmers, agreed to give harshest punishment to any corporate doing the same. But we need to destroy the oppressive nature of a few middlemen and people like the former Chief Minister of the state of Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his family, who virtually run the state of Punjab till date and have extensive interests in varied sectors like agriculture, transport, commodities, etc. The Badals and their cronies and their accomplices have held the state to ransom.

Under the new farm laws, the Minimum Support Price (MSP), i.e. the legal price at which the government buys produce from the farmers after every farming season directly and the price which both the parties- the government and the farmers- know that it would be assured and that the peasants would be receiving it under any circumstances, would not be abolished. MSP would have continued and in fact, farmers could sell directly to government without any intermediary. This is in contrary among a few sections of the Opposition, media and some anti-establishment activists, who had been spreading the fear among the farmers that Indian companies as well as several Multinational Companies would be in a position to dispossess farmers of their farming land and reducing them to abject poverty, compelling them to either opt to become landless labourers on the farms of these wealthy corporations. Under the new farm laws, the farmers could also sell directly to companies like Pepsi and Unilever, who have been buying produce from farmers and paying them a fair price as well as helping them to irrigate and cultivate their land and improving the agricultural productivity of their lands for decades harmoniously.

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Politicians and their cronies need to exit from the farmers’ unions and groups and the government must help the farmers unions to come forward with the demands of farmers and must fulfil them all. The farmers are our pride and they need to be helped in every way.

The government should give maximum power to the unions to put forward the demands of the farming community and help in the establishment of cooperative societies for the farmers on the lines of the success of cooperative societies like Amul and Mother Dairy, which have enabled the local farmers to become self sufficient, organize their produce, sell them to the government, to the mandis, to the customers directly through dairy shops and above all, export their products and be a role model for supplying them to all at a reasonable price .

This has brought about an agricultural revolution in India and has given an option to many young members of the farming community to stay back in the profession, instead of migrating to urbanized areas in search of better and stable opportunities of employment. The farmers of our country must get a good price for their produce all over the country. Any agricultural distress on their part must be addressed by the cooperatives and the government. The government, at this juncture, should now revise the farm laws, and seek new inputs from the farmers’ groups and the judiciary in light of ten rounds of talks with various farmers’ groups and the Supreme Court of India.

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The Civil society should also be involved this time. Prominent experts and the Opposition should be thoroughly consulted this time, failing which, the government would be compelled to bring about an ordinance to that effect, which would be temporary and ineffective and therefore, not of any benefit to the government, the country or the people.

Author’s Profile

Sauro Dasgupta is pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a specialization in International Relations at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India. He is interested in reading, writing, public speaking and his writings have been published in many important magazines, journals and newspapers. He can be contacted at dasgupta_sauro@yahoo.co.in.

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