Thousands of farmers are on dharna amidst Delhi’s bone-chilling winter for over one month now but the government is hardly even bothered about their grievances. The farmers are protesting against three farm laws that the Parliament passed during Monsoon. These laws are:
- Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act of 2020
- Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act of 2020
- Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act of 2020
The Farmers’ Grievance
The farmers strongly believe that the abovementioned laws are going to affect their interests adversely and the corporates will use the laws to exploit them due to the weak bargaining powers of the peasantry and lack of adequate legal protection. They believe that the government has a soft corner for corporates and farm laws would provide opportunities to the corporates to rob them of their livelihoods.
The central government is proposing amendments to the laws— particularly to the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act which could have been brought into consideration during an informed debate in both Houses of Parliament and after receiving stakeholder responses and suggestions. Such a law would have received more acceptability then.
What was the need to pass the laws at rocket speed? The government failed to reach out to the dissenters and adopted the dismissive approach again when the protests initially started in Punjab and Delhi.
Empathy towards Indian Farmers?
The top court issued a notice to farmers’ unions following a Delhi Police plea to dismiss a tractor rally during the Republic Day parade. The judges have rebuffed ML Sharma, the lawyer of the protesting farmers, as he said that the farmers would not take part in the committee as Prime Minister Modi had refused to speak to them.
The top court on Monday demanded the repeal of three new farm laws, claiming that it was “disappointed” with the negotiations, and also expressed its inclination towards the implementation of these acts. It asked the central government if it can pause the controversial laws at the core of farmer protests near Delhi, and even suggested a committee calling for negotiations.
The farmers, in the meanwhile, have made this clear, as they did in December also, that “now is not the time for a committee”.