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Farm and Forest

Parliament repeals farm laws sans discussion, but what's next?

Farmers reiterate that the struggle has always been peasant rights not just the three farm laws

Sabrangindia 29 Nov 2021

Farm Laws Repeal
Image Courtesy: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

The Farm Laws Repeal Bill that calls for the dismissal of the contentious farm laws was passed by the Parliament without any debate on the first day of the Winter Session on November 29, 2021. While this sets the precedent for a major win for farmers, leaders have pointed out that other crucial demands are yet to be addressed.

On Monday, both Houses of Parliament passed the Farm Laws Repeal Bill to dismiss the three contentious laws:

 

  • Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020
  • Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020
  • Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020

The same was done with a voice vote although Opposition party Members of Parliament (MPs) from Congress, TMC and DMK demanded a discussion of the laws.

 

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar, who tabled the Bill, wrote in the legislature that “these enactments were made for the overall socio-economic development of farmers and rural sector.” However, acknowledging that even the Supreme Court’s January 2021 order stayed the implementation of these laws, it asked to dismiss the same.

However, farmer leaders in a previous letter to Modi clarified that the repeal of the laws is only the tip of the iceberg.

“The Government of India ungraciously gives in to one of the key demands of protesting farmers with this Repeal Bill. It is worth noting that [while] it seeks to recall the laws made in 2020 that led to huge historic protests by farmers of India, in its Statement of Objects and Reasons continues to defend the laws stoutly and mentions that only a group of farmers are protesting against these laws. It links the repeal to Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, with the need of the hour being to take everyone together on the path of inclusive growth and development,” said the farmers group Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) in a joint press statement on November 28.

 

In a letter by SKM, farmers listed as many as six major demands of the movement. These are:

1.       A legal guarantee to Minimum Support Price (MSP) based on the C2+50 percent formula

2.       Withdrawal of the draft Electricity Amendments Bill 2021 that the Centre had promised to dispose in earlier talks

3.       Removal of penal provisions on farmers in the Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act 2021

4.       Withdrawal of FIRs against farmers that were booked since June 2020

5.       Suspension and arrest of Minister of State Ajay Mishra from the Union Cabinet for alleged role in Lakhimpur Kheir killings

6.       Compensation and rehabilitation of the families of at least 686 martyrs who were part of the farmers struggle for the past year

Along with this, farmers also raised concern about the Indian Maritime Fisheries Bill 2021 decried by India’s fisherfolk who are recognised as farmers as per the National Policy for Farmers 2007.

Denying government assurances on MSP, farmers said that it is “patently unjustified and illogical” to claim that a Committee to deliberate on crop diversification, zero-budget farming, and better MSP system, etc, can fulfil farmers' demands. The SKM also condemned Tomar’s comment that stubble burning has been decriminalised, by pointing out Section 15 of the AQM Bill. Farmers also questioned the Electricity Amendments Bill 2021 that is to be tabled today despite previous assurances of dismissing the same.

Farmers also questioned the FIRs on approximately 48,000 farmers in Haryana alone for charges like sedition and attempt to murder, rioting etc. In light of all this, the SKM states that the struggle will not end until the government resumes dialogue with farmers.

“Union Government cannot hope to end the farmers' protests in undemocratic, unilateral ways,” said the SKM.

Related:

SKM postpones Tractor Rally to Parliament

Farmers' movement: 12 months and still going strong!

Kranti ka Naqsha: Mapping a year of the Kisan Andolan

Union Cabinet completes formalities for repeal of contentious farm laws

Welcome repeal of laws but other demands pending: SKM to PM Modi

Farmers struggle to continue until all demands are met: SKM

Parliament repeals farm laws sans discussion, but what's next?

Farmers reiterate that the struggle has always been peasant rights not just the three farm laws

Farm Laws Repeal
Image Courtesy: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

The Farm Laws Repeal Bill that calls for the dismissal of the contentious farm laws was passed by the Parliament without any debate on the first day of the Winter Session on November 29, 2021. While this sets the precedent for a major win for farmers, leaders have pointed out that other crucial demands are yet to be addressed.

On Monday, both Houses of Parliament passed the Farm Laws Repeal Bill to dismiss the three contentious laws:

 

  • Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020
  • Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020
  • Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020

The same was done with a voice vote although Opposition party Members of Parliament (MPs) from Congress, TMC and DMK demanded a discussion of the laws.

 

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar, who tabled the Bill, wrote in the legislature that “these enactments were made for the overall socio-economic development of farmers and rural sector.” However, acknowledging that even the Supreme Court’s January 2021 order stayed the implementation of these laws, it asked to dismiss the same.

However, farmer leaders in a previous letter to Modi clarified that the repeal of the laws is only the tip of the iceberg.

“The Government of India ungraciously gives in to one of the key demands of protesting farmers with this Repeal Bill. It is worth noting that [while] it seeks to recall the laws made in 2020 that led to huge historic protests by farmers of India, in its Statement of Objects and Reasons continues to defend the laws stoutly and mentions that only a group of farmers are protesting against these laws. It links the repeal to Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, with the need of the hour being to take everyone together on the path of inclusive growth and development,” said the farmers group Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) in a joint press statement on November 28.

 

In a letter by SKM, farmers listed as many as six major demands of the movement. These are:

1.       A legal guarantee to Minimum Support Price (MSP) based on the C2+50 percent formula

2.       Withdrawal of the draft Electricity Amendments Bill 2021 that the Centre had promised to dispose in earlier talks

3.       Removal of penal provisions on farmers in the Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act 2021

4.       Withdrawal of FIRs against farmers that were booked since June 2020

5.       Suspension and arrest of Minister of State Ajay Mishra from the Union Cabinet for alleged role in Lakhimpur Kheir killings

6.       Compensation and rehabilitation of the families of at least 686 martyrs who were part of the farmers struggle for the past year

Along with this, farmers also raised concern about the Indian Maritime Fisheries Bill 2021 decried by India’s fisherfolk who are recognised as farmers as per the National Policy for Farmers 2007.

Denying government assurances on MSP, farmers said that it is “patently unjustified and illogical” to claim that a Committee to deliberate on crop diversification, zero-budget farming, and better MSP system, etc, can fulfil farmers' demands. The SKM also condemned Tomar’s comment that stubble burning has been decriminalised, by pointing out Section 15 of the AQM Bill. Farmers also questioned the Electricity Amendments Bill 2021 that is to be tabled today despite previous assurances of dismissing the same.

Farmers also questioned the FIRs on approximately 48,000 farmers in Haryana alone for charges like sedition and attempt to murder, rioting etc. In light of all this, the SKM states that the struggle will not end until the government resumes dialogue with farmers.

“Union Government cannot hope to end the farmers' protests in undemocratic, unilateral ways,” said the SKM.

Related:

SKM postpones Tractor Rally to Parliament

Farmers' movement: 12 months and still going strong!

Kranti ka Naqsha: Mapping a year of the Kisan Andolan

Union Cabinet completes formalities for repeal of contentious farm laws

Welcome repeal of laws but other demands pending: SKM to PM Modi

Farmers struggle to continue until all demands are met: SKM

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