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Opinion

Dilli Chalo: Why do angry farmers want to storm New Delhi?

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Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh clashed with police on Thursday, traveling to the national capital, where they plan to protest against three recently enacted farm laws. Growers on tractors and trucks threw police barricades into a river near the Ambala district, while police detained them with tear gas and water cannons. Farmers will resume their march on Friday.

What is stoking the farmers’ uprising?

Farmers want the Narendra Modi government to repeal three contentious laws passed by Parliament in September. The laws basically change the way India’s farmers do business by creating free markets, as opposed to a decades-old network of government-controlled agricultural markets. These laws are the Agricultural Products Trade and Trade (Promotion and Facilitation) Act of 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Guarantee and the Agricultural Services Act of 2020 and the Essential Products (Amendment) Act. 2020.

Read also | Ready to resolve differences: Union agriculture minister Tomar invites protesting farmers to talk on December 3

How do the new laws change agricultural trade?

Together, the laws allow companies to freely trade agricultural products outside of the so-called “mandi system” controlled by the government, they allow private traders to store large quantities of basic products for future sales, which previously could only be done by agents approved by the government. government, and establish new rules for contract farming.

Why are farmers opposed to these new rules?

Farmers say the reforms would make them vulnerable to exploitation by large corporations, erode their bargaining power, and weaken the government’s procurement system, whereby the government buys commodities, such as wheat and rice, at guaranteed prices. .

What is the MSP system?

Agricultural unions fear that the new rules could pave the way for the government to stop buying grain at guaranteed prices, officially called minimum support prices (MSP), leaving them at the mercy of private buyers. The government, on the other hand, has insisted that it will continue to buy agricultural products in the MSPs. An MSP is a minimum price determined by the federal government intended to prevent emergency selling.

What is the government’s argument?

The government has said these new rules will bring large retailers, online grocery stores and exporters to farmers’ doorsteps. The amended Essential Products Law will stimulate investment in supply chains. The contract farming law will allow farmers to tailor their production according to the requirements of a corporate buyer.

Will the crisis be resolved soon?

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Railways, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal held one-day negotiations with farmers on November 13. The discussions were inconclusive, but both parties agreed to continue negotiations in the future. The next round of talks is scheduled for December 3.

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