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Farmer Unions Threaten to Resume Agitation if Govt does not fulfil MSP commitments

Farmer Unions Threaten to Resume Agitation if Govt does not fulfil MSP commitments

Relevance:

  • GS 3 || Economy || Agriculture || Agricultural Production & Productivity

Why in the news?

Farmer Unions Threaten to Resume Agitation.

Present context:

Farmers will be left with no option but to resume their agitation if the Government of India continues to renege on the promises made to protesting farmers in December 2021, Declares SamyuktKisanMorcha (SKM) in a memorandum.

Introduction:

Farmers unions are a group of farmers who work together to promote the interests of farmers and to find solutions to various farming concerns. Farmers’ organisations in India include the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), All India KrantikariKisanSabha, All India AgragameeKisanSabha, RythuRakshanaVedika, and Bharat BeejSwarajManch. They work through applying pressure to the government, using the media, and advocating for structural improvements, among other things.

History of farmer protest:

  • Farm protests have a long history in India. Farmers were politically significant as a result of the Green Revolution’s surplus.
  • One of the first to recognise its potential was Chaudhary Charan Singh. He founded the Bharatiya Kranti Dal in 1967 and later became the leader of the Bharatiya Lok Dal in 1974, after merging the former with six other anti-Indira Gandhi organisations.
  • He advocated for the interests of rich and middle peasants from middle and lower castes.
  • The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) was founded by Chaudhary Charan Singh in 1978. Mahendra Singh Tikait reestablished the organisation in Uttar Pradesh after his death in 1987.
  • The BKU adopted a non-political stance from which it derives its credibility to this day. The BKU organised protests over high power tariffs and inconsistent supplies in the 1980s.

Significance of farmers union in all aspects:

  • Promotes and supports:Farmers Union is a non-profit organisation that promotes and supports local and regional food systems.
  • Environmental conservation: On topics like as energy and food security, agriculture sustainability, rural development, and environmental conservation, they represent family farmers and consumers.
  • They oppose monopolies in our food system and promote truth in labelling, competitive markets, a level playing field, and market access for our small-scale farmers.
  • The Farmers Union is a non-profit organisation that educates farmers on topics such as food safety.
  • They encourage and assist the growth of cooperative companies.
  • They advocate for equitable food prices for both farmers and consumers, as well as engaging, teaching, and empowering rural kids for a better future.
  • They contribute to the development of healthy, vibrant rural communities by assuring a sufficient supply of safe, nutritious food.
  • They assist in cost reduction and other initiatives aimed at increasing the economic benefits of farming.
  • They work to improve the quality of life in agricultural communities.

Challenges faced by farmers union in India:

  • Unions have a restricted focus and a narrow vision.
  • They frequently confront political influence. Political party affiliation has proven a toxic pill for labour unions.
  • Farmers’ illiteracy is a major difficulty for these unions in terms of assisting farmers with their rights and needs, and funding is a major concern.
  • The lack of scientific management and government assistance has caused these unions to face obstacles in their operations.
  • Challenges faced by farmer at present time:
    • Climate change.
    • The ongoing trade war between the United States and China.
    • Rapidly depleting reserves of freshwater around the world.
    • The looming food crisis.
    • Economic insecurity in the United States.
    • Ongoing closures of food processing facilities and local businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Depletion of natural resources due to widespread industrial agricultural practices.
    • High rates of food waste, which threaten to intensify food insecurity around the globe.
    • Disruptions in trade networks and fluctuations in global demand for agricultural products.
    • Economic strife and crippling debt for individual farmers.

How the government should deal with protesting farmers?

  • Serious communication: The federal government has a serious communication problem when it comes to explaining what these rules are and how they will benefit farmers.
  • MSP and procurement:The fear of MSP and procurement disappearing stems from Acts being linked to previous policy documents like the Shanta Kumar Committee report and the CACP reports, which suggested reduced procurement and an end to open-ended procurement from states like Punjab to save FCI costs.
  • New trade area:It is believed that FCI would begin procuring straight from the new trade area in order to reduce buying costs such as market fees and arhtiya commission.
  • The main cause of this anxiety is changes in the “social contract” between the state’s farmers and the Union government.

Way Forward:

  • The need for debate: Many experts have criticised the way the reforms were implemented. Rather than passing the measures through parliament, the government first submitted them through ordinance. As a result, the farmers began to question the government’s objectives and blame the bills on ulterior motivations. To develop a bipartisan consensus around the issue, voters’ faith in the democratic process must be rekindled, and a fair venue for discussion must be provided.
  • Better regulation: Farmers’ genuine fear of being defrauded if the registration system is abolished deserves to be addressed. Farmers’ concerns would be alleviated if the private sector was better regulated and grievances were resolved more quickly.
  • Dispute Resolution Process: There is a need to address the farmers’ concerns about the executive’s lack of confidence. Farmers have correctly pointed out the widespread corruption in the executive branch. In this case, the provision that excludes the judiciary from the dispute settlement procedure should be reconsidered. If farmers are satisfied with the addition of a clause permitting them to take their issue to court, then such a demand should be considered.
  • End ineffective subsidies: It has been repeatedly stated in numerous publications that agricultural subsidies are monopolised by wealthy farmers. Subsidies should be properly targeted to the deserving parts, such as small and marginal farmers (see table), who account for 86 percent of India’s total farmers, and landless labourers.
  • Organic agricultural promotion: Inefficient and wasteful fertiliser use has resulted in land degradation and sickness in the population. In light of the growing awareness of the use of organic products in urban areas and their remunerative costs, the government should take use of the chance to encourage farmers to plant organic crops rather than using additional chemicals.

Conclusion:

Agriculture reforms have been long overdue, and they are intended to bring higher recompense to farmers in the long run, similar to the economic growth that India experienced after the 1991 introduction of the New Economic Policy. However, it is necessary to inform farmers about the government’s good intentions and to address their legitimate concerns through changes. It is important to recognise that agriculture is India’s backbone, and that any changes should be made democratically, with input from all sections. Simultaneously, academics have projected the role of states as an alternative platform for debate and as a vehicle for enacting reforms that are more suited to the local politics and socioeconomic conditions.

Mains oriented question:

List the key provisions in the farm reform measures that were passed during the monsoon session of the legislature. Do you believe that the farmers’ concerns about the bills are well-founded? Discuss the topic critically.