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Four states gear up to resist ‘anti-farmer’ bills

As the farmers movement shows its strength, state governments of Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan and Maharashtra step in to ensure security for farmers, protect their own powers

26 Sep 2020

Image Courtesy:theprint.in

While the Centre remains adamant on its plan to go forward with the anti-farmer Bills that have received widespread Opposition parties for the cause of farmers, state governments have decided to act in favour of marginalised farmers. Three days ago Kerala started contemplating a legal challenge in the Supreme Court, and yesterday, Rajasthan, Punjab and Maharashtra spoke out.

On the morning of protests on Friday, Punjab followed the footsteps of Rajasthan in taking immediate steps to secure the state government’s control on procurement and pricing.

Shortly after the nationwide farmers protest on September 25, Maharashtra government said that it would not allow the three agriculture Bills – the Farmer's Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill – to be implemented, said a Rediff report. On the day of the protest, Deputy Chief Minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar said in Pune that the NCP and other parties are opposed to the new bills. He added that a dharna agitation will be held on October 2 in the state.

Days after Parliament passed the three agriculture-related ordinances to regulate out-of-mandi transactions and provide a framework for contract farming, and the amended Essential  Commodities Act, some states have started guarding their turf, to limit revenue loss on account of off-mandi transactions.

Kerala: Planning Board asked to study impact

Kerala reacted first, soon after the undemocratic manner in which the Bills were passed in Parliament last week-end followed by the arbitrary suspension of eight Members of Parliament. Calling for concerted efforts to oppose the controversial farm Bills, days before the nationwide protest, Kerala’s Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar said that the Kerala government had sought advice from it’s legal department on the feasibility of challenging them in the Supreme Court. Kerala government decision was taken at the September 23 cabinet meeting. 

The state government has asked the Planning Board to study their impact on various sectors, such as agriculture, fisheries, labour, animal husbandry and dairy development, Sunil Kumar told the media. The Planning Board has been directed to submit its report by September 30.  He also suggested that the Kerala government would seek the cooperation of like-minded States, such as Punjab, in opposing the Centre’s “unilateral decision”. Kerala goes to the polls soon. Though ‘Agriculture, including agricultural education and research, protection against pests and prevention of plant diseases’ falls in the State List as per the Seventh Schedule, the Centre neither discussed the Bills with the States nor heeded their concerns, he said. The legislation serve only the interests of corporates, Mr. Sunil Kumar added.

Meanwhile, Kerala is moving to introduce an alternative mechanism to strengthen the agriculture sector using the primary agriculture co-operative societies and with the support of the Departments of Cooperation and Industries, he said.

Such support for the farmers from the south is particularly significant because Kerala does not have an APMC system. Thus, Kerala’s official support to the farmers counters the pro-Bill argument that the opposition is only limited in APMC-states such as Punjab and Haryana.

Rajasthan, Punjab take control of Mandis

Last month, Rajasthan had acted. The state had passed an order late in August 2020 designating all warehouses of Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state warehousing corporation as mandis, thereby retaining its powers to charge mandi fees. The order was seen by many as a move to neutralise the impact of the Centre’s ordinance designating all out-of-mandi areas, including warehouses and godowns, as trade zones where taxes could not be levied. According to the latest report of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), Rajasthan charged 3.6 per cent as mandi fees and other charges — the third-highest among major wheat procurement states of India.

The Rajasthan government has explored this loophole in the legislation, and declared all FCI and state warehouses mandis, so all transactions taking place in these would be eligible for state taxes.

The Rajasthan government had earlier expressed apprehensions about the impact of these new laws on state policies. On September 21, Revenue Minister Harish Chaudhary and Transport Minister Pratap Singh Khachariawas had told the media that the “anti-farmer Bills,” brought in a hurry, deprive farmers of the bonus on MSP. Last month, Rajasthan had declared all warehouses of the Food Corporation of India (FCI), the Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) and the Rajasthan State Warehousing Corporation (RSWC) as procurement centres under the APMC Act.

Punjab

Further north, Punjab government said they were giving serious thought to amending the state’s APMC Act and declaring the whole of Punjab as a Principal Mandi Yard. According to reports, the government believes such an amendment will circumvent the changes in the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill. Declaring ‘mandi yards’ would mean that any procurement outside government ambit would become illegal thus ensuring MSO to farmers and Mandi fees to the state. On September 25 reports suggest that Punjab, the largest contributor of wheat and rice to India’s central pool, might also be looking at amending its Mandi Act to declare the entire state a Principal Market Yard. This would nullify the central law prohibiting imposition of any tax or cess on out-of-mandi transactions.

The central legislation defines a ‘trade area’ as any area outside of mandis notified under the state Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act, including private market yards, private market sub-yards, direct marketing collection centres, private farmer-consumer market yards managed by persons holding any licence, as well as cold storage, silos and warehouses notified as marketplaces under the state APMC Acts. The central legislation clarifies that the definition of a ‘trade area’, where central provisions will apply, will be all areas other than the ones mentioned above. The Rajasthan government has explored this loophole in the legislation and declared all FCI and state warehouses mandis, so all transactions taking place in these would be eligible for state taxes.

Now, if the entire state is declared a Principal Market Yard, the central law would not apply anywhere in the state. And if FCI continues to procure from the state, it will continue to pay tax at a high 8.5 per cent rate on wheat and rice.

These taxes, according to some estimates, earn Punjab over Rs 5,000 crore annually, given the sheer amount of wheat and rice procured from the state every year.

Maharashtra

Pawar acknowledged farmers’ arguments that the laws were not beneficial to them and said that the state government will ensure that such laws are not implemented. He also said that his government had sought legal advice in case the matter went to the court.

Speaking about the Bills, the Deputy Chief Minister said that the new bills scrap the APMC system and hand over the marketing system to traders. He alleged that this would lead to scrapping of labour protection laws as farmers will not get the Minimum Support Price (MSP.)

 

Related: 

BJP workers should reach out to farmers: Narendra Modi
India ratifies, but doesn't adopt UN Resolution on farmers' rights?
Farmers’ stand resolute, block Maharashtra’s expressway
Stranger things: Walkouts, night vigils and intermittent fasting in the Parliament

Four states gear up to resist ‘anti-farmer’ bills

As the farmers movement shows its strength, state governments of Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan and Maharashtra step in to ensure security for farmers, protect their own powers

Image Courtesy:theprint.in

While the Centre remains adamant on its plan to go forward with the anti-farmer Bills that have received widespread Opposition parties for the cause of farmers, state governments have decided to act in favour of marginalised farmers. Three days ago Kerala started contemplating a legal challenge in the Supreme Court, and yesterday, Rajasthan, Punjab and Maharashtra spoke out.

On the morning of protests on Friday, Punjab followed the footsteps of Rajasthan in taking immediate steps to secure the state government’s control on procurement and pricing.

Shortly after the nationwide farmers protest on September 25, Maharashtra government said that it would not allow the three agriculture Bills – the Farmer's Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill – to be implemented, said a Rediff report. On the day of the protest, Deputy Chief Minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar said in Pune that the NCP and other parties are opposed to the new bills. He added that a dharna agitation will be held on October 2 in the state.

Days after Parliament passed the three agriculture-related ordinances to regulate out-of-mandi transactions and provide a framework for contract farming, and the amended Essential  Commodities Act, some states have started guarding their turf, to limit revenue loss on account of off-mandi transactions.

Kerala: Planning Board asked to study impact

Kerala reacted first, soon after the undemocratic manner in which the Bills were passed in Parliament last week-end followed by the arbitrary suspension of eight Members of Parliament. Calling for concerted efforts to oppose the controversial farm Bills, days before the nationwide protest, Kerala’s Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar said that the Kerala government had sought advice from it’s legal department on the feasibility of challenging them in the Supreme Court. Kerala government decision was taken at the September 23 cabinet meeting. 

The state government has asked the Planning Board to study their impact on various sectors, such as agriculture, fisheries, labour, animal husbandry and dairy development, Sunil Kumar told the media. The Planning Board has been directed to submit its report by September 30.  He also suggested that the Kerala government would seek the cooperation of like-minded States, such as Punjab, in opposing the Centre’s “unilateral decision”. Kerala goes to the polls soon. Though ‘Agriculture, including agricultural education and research, protection against pests and prevention of plant diseases’ falls in the State List as per the Seventh Schedule, the Centre neither discussed the Bills with the States nor heeded their concerns, he said. The legislation serve only the interests of corporates, Mr. Sunil Kumar added.

Meanwhile, Kerala is moving to introduce an alternative mechanism to strengthen the agriculture sector using the primary agriculture co-operative societies and with the support of the Departments of Cooperation and Industries, he said.

Such support for the farmers from the south is particularly significant because Kerala does not have an APMC system. Thus, Kerala’s official support to the farmers counters the pro-Bill argument that the opposition is only limited in APMC-states such as Punjab and Haryana.

Rajasthan, Punjab take control of Mandis

Last month, Rajasthan had acted. The state had passed an order late in August 2020 designating all warehouses of Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state warehousing corporation as mandis, thereby retaining its powers to charge mandi fees. The order was seen by many as a move to neutralise the impact of the Centre’s ordinance designating all out-of-mandi areas, including warehouses and godowns, as trade zones where taxes could not be levied. According to the latest report of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), Rajasthan charged 3.6 per cent as mandi fees and other charges — the third-highest among major wheat procurement states of India.

The Rajasthan government has explored this loophole in the legislation, and declared all FCI and state warehouses mandis, so all transactions taking place in these would be eligible for state taxes.

The Rajasthan government had earlier expressed apprehensions about the impact of these new laws on state policies. On September 21, Revenue Minister Harish Chaudhary and Transport Minister Pratap Singh Khachariawas had told the media that the “anti-farmer Bills,” brought in a hurry, deprive farmers of the bonus on MSP. Last month, Rajasthan had declared all warehouses of the Food Corporation of India (FCI), the Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) and the Rajasthan State Warehousing Corporation (RSWC) as procurement centres under the APMC Act.

Punjab

Further north, Punjab government said they were giving serious thought to amending the state’s APMC Act and declaring the whole of Punjab as a Principal Mandi Yard. According to reports, the government believes such an amendment will circumvent the changes in the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill. Declaring ‘mandi yards’ would mean that any procurement outside government ambit would become illegal thus ensuring MSO to farmers and Mandi fees to the state. On September 25 reports suggest that Punjab, the largest contributor of wheat and rice to India’s central pool, might also be looking at amending its Mandi Act to declare the entire state a Principal Market Yard. This would nullify the central law prohibiting imposition of any tax or cess on out-of-mandi transactions.

The central legislation defines a ‘trade area’ as any area outside of mandis notified under the state Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act, including private market yards, private market sub-yards, direct marketing collection centres, private farmer-consumer market yards managed by persons holding any licence, as well as cold storage, silos and warehouses notified as marketplaces under the state APMC Acts. The central legislation clarifies that the definition of a ‘trade area’, where central provisions will apply, will be all areas other than the ones mentioned above. The Rajasthan government has explored this loophole in the legislation and declared all FCI and state warehouses mandis, so all transactions taking place in these would be eligible for state taxes.

Now, if the entire state is declared a Principal Market Yard, the central law would not apply anywhere in the state. And if FCI continues to procure from the state, it will continue to pay tax at a high 8.5 per cent rate on wheat and rice.

These taxes, according to some estimates, earn Punjab over Rs 5,000 crore annually, given the sheer amount of wheat and rice procured from the state every year.

Maharashtra

Pawar acknowledged farmers’ arguments that the laws were not beneficial to them and said that the state government will ensure that such laws are not implemented. He also said that his government had sought legal advice in case the matter went to the court.

Speaking about the Bills, the Deputy Chief Minister said that the new bills scrap the APMC system and hand over the marketing system to traders. He alleged that this would lead to scrapping of labour protection laws as farmers will not get the Minimum Support Price (MSP.)

 

Related: 

BJP workers should reach out to farmers: Narendra Modi
India ratifies, but doesn't adopt UN Resolution on farmers' rights?
Farmers’ stand resolute, block Maharashtra’s expressway
Stranger things: Walkouts, night vigils and intermittent fasting in the Parliament

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BJP workers should reach out to farmers: Narendra Modi

The Prime Minister says there is a need to spread awareness on new farm bills, and wants party workers to convince farmers.

26 Sep 2020

Farmers

The Prime Minister has asked Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers to start spreading out “reaching out to farmers” to “inform them in a very simplified language about the importance and intricacies of the new farm reforms”. This could be a cause of concern amongst the farming community, activists, and citizens who are supporting their demand to withdraw the newly passed agricultural laws, that they feel will harm their interest.

The PM’s words indicate that the farming community that works to feed the entire nation is not intelligent enough to understand what is “good for them” and needs those working for the Bharatiya Janata Party to explain it to them in a way they will understand. Since the PM has not identified or explained to the “BJP Karyakartas” what he means by this “simple language”, it also can be interpreted by the right wing supporters to mean that they must “convince” the farmers to agree to the law anyhow.

His remarks, in response to the all India agitation against the The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill were passed by the Parliament, in the most “undemocratic” manner, even as Opposition boycotted it, earlier this week during the Monsoon Session. These laws have unified the farmers, to protest and demand that they be withdrawn. These legislations passed through without discussion or debate in the Indian Parliament last Sunday made a mockery of parliamentary democracy too, and may see further political agitations as well.

The PM’s words have a lot of weight, and to his colleagues from the party, and the right-wing ideology, his speech at the celebrations to mark Deendayal Upadhyaya's birth anniversary, while on the same day lakhs of farmers across the country demonstrated against the law, may have a massive impact too. The message can be read as: We will tell the farmer what is good for them, they do not seem to understand it now.

The PM addressed the BJP meeting, via video conference and among other things spoke about the new “reforms in the agriculture sector”. He lashed out at previous governments and said that “used to make a complicated web of promises and laws which farmers or labourers could never understand”. According to him, the BJP-led NDA govt "tried to change this situation” and has “in the last few years, the NDA government made full efforts to connect farmers with banks. Over Rs 1 lakh crores transferred to over 10 crore farmers under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana. Our effort was to provide KISAN credit cards to more & more farmers so they can avail loans easily.”

As he is aware that the new laws are seen as harmful by the farming community, and seen as favouring large corporates and not real farmers, he rigidly insisted that the BJP “karyakartas”, now “need to spread awareness on new farm bills,” alleging that the Opposition is “using farmers for their benefit”, by supporting the farmers in their struggle for financial security and their hope to have the new law revoked.

 

 

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also spoke about the labour bills at the event, and defended them saying they were “labour reforms” that will “transform the lives of our labour force”. “So far, only 30 percent of the workers had the coverage of minimum wage guarantee. Now, it will expand to all workers in the unorganised sector,” he said.

It is election season and the PM also reminded his party workers about “the party's mantra”, saying “if we see the party's Sankalp Patra, we can see that how so many of the works are being done at fast pace - be it Har Ghar Jal or internet connectivity in villages. Be it revocation of article 370 or settling the Ram Mandir issue in Ayodhya.”

However, for lakhs of Indian farmers who took to the streets, sat under the scorching sun, put their bodies on railway tracks on Friday, to demand what fair price for the crop they grow, rights over the land they till; the government needs to talk to them directly. Most of the regular BJP workers, and Sangh Parivar 'volunteers’ are not the representatives of an elected government. After all there exists the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare. As a part of the Government of India, this ministry is mandated to formulate and administer all rules and regulations and laws related to the agriculture sector. It is headed by Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar, details of those who run the ministry can be found here, perhaps the many farmers of India want to hear from them instead of BJP workers.

 

Related:

What farmer protests? The BJP-led Government was busy honouring 

Farmer Protests: From streets to social media

Photo essay: Farmers' protests make history across India

Highlights of National Protest Day

Nation continues agitation against anti-people laws

Labour Codes Issues: Spelling out the ABCs

BJP workers should reach out to farmers: Narendra Modi

The Prime Minister says there is a need to spread awareness on new farm bills, and wants party workers to convince farmers.

Farmers

The Prime Minister has asked Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers to start spreading out “reaching out to farmers” to “inform them in a very simplified language about the importance and intricacies of the new farm reforms”. This could be a cause of concern amongst the farming community, activists, and citizens who are supporting their demand to withdraw the newly passed agricultural laws, that they feel will harm their interest.

The PM’s words indicate that the farming community that works to feed the entire nation is not intelligent enough to understand what is “good for them” and needs those working for the Bharatiya Janata Party to explain it to them in a way they will understand. Since the PM has not identified or explained to the “BJP Karyakartas” what he means by this “simple language”, it also can be interpreted by the right wing supporters to mean that they must “convince” the farmers to agree to the law anyhow.

His remarks, in response to the all India agitation against the The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill were passed by the Parliament, in the most “undemocratic” manner, even as Opposition boycotted it, earlier this week during the Monsoon Session. These laws have unified the farmers, to protest and demand that they be withdrawn. These legislations passed through without discussion or debate in the Indian Parliament last Sunday made a mockery of parliamentary democracy too, and may see further political agitations as well.

The PM’s words have a lot of weight, and to his colleagues from the party, and the right-wing ideology, his speech at the celebrations to mark Deendayal Upadhyaya's birth anniversary, while on the same day lakhs of farmers across the country demonstrated against the law, may have a massive impact too. The message can be read as: We will tell the farmer what is good for them, they do not seem to understand it now.

The PM addressed the BJP meeting, via video conference and among other things spoke about the new “reforms in the agriculture sector”. He lashed out at previous governments and said that “used to make a complicated web of promises and laws which farmers or labourers could never understand”. According to him, the BJP-led NDA govt "tried to change this situation” and has “in the last few years, the NDA government made full efforts to connect farmers with banks. Over Rs 1 lakh crores transferred to over 10 crore farmers under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana. Our effort was to provide KISAN credit cards to more & more farmers so they can avail loans easily.”

As he is aware that the new laws are seen as harmful by the farming community, and seen as favouring large corporates and not real farmers, he rigidly insisted that the BJP “karyakartas”, now “need to spread awareness on new farm bills,” alleging that the Opposition is “using farmers for their benefit”, by supporting the farmers in their struggle for financial security and their hope to have the new law revoked.

 

 

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also spoke about the labour bills at the event, and defended them saying they were “labour reforms” that will “transform the lives of our labour force”. “So far, only 30 percent of the workers had the coverage of minimum wage guarantee. Now, it will expand to all workers in the unorganised sector,” he said.

It is election season and the PM also reminded his party workers about “the party's mantra”, saying “if we see the party's Sankalp Patra, we can see that how so many of the works are being done at fast pace - be it Har Ghar Jal or internet connectivity in villages. Be it revocation of article 370 or settling the Ram Mandir issue in Ayodhya.”

However, for lakhs of Indian farmers who took to the streets, sat under the scorching sun, put their bodies on railway tracks on Friday, to demand what fair price for the crop they grow, rights over the land they till; the government needs to talk to them directly. Most of the regular BJP workers, and Sangh Parivar 'volunteers’ are not the representatives of an elected government. After all there exists the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare. As a part of the Government of India, this ministry is mandated to formulate and administer all rules and regulations and laws related to the agriculture sector. It is headed by Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar, details of those who run the ministry can be found here, perhaps the many farmers of India want to hear from them instead of BJP workers.

 

Related:

What farmer protests? The BJP-led Government was busy honouring 

Farmer Protests: From streets to social media

Photo essay: Farmers' protests make history across India

Highlights of National Protest Day

Nation continues agitation against anti-people laws

Labour Codes Issues: Spelling out the ABCs

Related Articles


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What farmer protests? The BJP-led Government was busy honouring Deendayal Upadhyaya

The Government of India, chooses to look the other way, as lakhs of farmers protest agricultural laws they fear will make them slaves

25 Sep 2020

Image Courtesy:dnaindia.com

Lakhs of Indian farmers took to the streets, sat under the scorching sun, put their bodies on railway tracks, to demand what are their basic rights. Fair price for the crop they grow, rights over the land they till. They marched, sat on dharnas, courted arrest, and protested throughout the country, and were supported by secular politicians, civil rights activists, even film stars, sporting heroes, and pop singers, both on the ground and on social media. Global media including the BBC, and Reuters, covered the protest, the first of its kind in the world since the Covid-19 pandemic hit. 

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020; The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce Bill, 2020; and The Farmers Agreement on Prices Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, all laws now, have unified the farmers, to protest and demand that they be withdrawn. These legislations passed through without discussion or debate in the Indian Parliament last Sunday made a mockery of parliamentary democracy too.

How did the union government respond? It celebrated the birthday of  Deendayal Upadhyaya, one of the most prominent ideologues for those aligned with the right-wing ideology. He was a co-founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, that later gave birth to the Bharatiya Janata Party. Hence Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, Government of India, was busy in his role as primarily a BJP worker. He remained busy with the birthday celebrations. 

 

Not that the farmers of India actually expected that the Agricultural minister would spare some time to address them, and listen to their concerns. They continued to protest the three controversial agricultural bills that became Law, once they were passed in the Rajya Sabha, despite lacking the required number of votes on September 20. That act of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) completely affronted the essence of democracy and disregarded Parliamentary rule and procedure. Incidentally, as reported by SabrangIndia earlier, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare had admitted to the agrarian crisis on September 18 when it said that more than 10,000 farmers, cultivators had died by suicide in 2019. This is part of the staggering 42,000 suicide deaths in the informal sector in that year. With the new “reforms” things are likely to just get worse.

However on September 25,the agriculture minister chose to quote Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words from the BJP’s event celebrating Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s birth anniversary that “Some people were misleading farmers and, people are spreading rumors, because of political interests. 

 

He also spent most of his time, as shown in his various social media posts, with party work, and among other things also dedicated to the public, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee International Convention Center of Jiwaji University Gwalior, which he said was made at a cost of Rs 23 Crore.

 

His junior minister Parshottam Rupala too seemed to have a similar schedule. No time to speak of, for, or to the indian farmers who are still protesting, against the new Acts, they feel will harm their future.

 

He was merely following the leader it seems.  Prime MInister Narendra Modi too had a busy day, addressing his party workers on the birth anniversary celebrations.
 

He also spoke to Japan’s new prime minister Yoshihide Suga

 

It was only the BJP ally, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir S Badal who joined the afters, but only to say that his wife, and former minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s resignation had “shaken up Modi. For the past two months, there was no word on farmers, but now 5-5 ministers speak on it" The former ally is now planning a major protest march on October 1 and says it “will shake up the throne in Delhi as well the one in Chandigarh.

 

Related: 

Farmer Protests: From streets to social media
MSP for farmers: Exposing the lies of the Modi government
Amendments to agricultural laws, dangerous for farmers: National Unions
Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s resignation, a public warning from Punjab farmers?Over 42,000 workers from informal sector allegedly die by suicide
Oppn boycotts Lok Sabha over farm Bills, Dharna by suspended MPs on

What farmer protests? The BJP-led Government was busy honouring Deendayal Upadhyaya

The Government of India, chooses to look the other way, as lakhs of farmers protest agricultural laws they fear will make them slaves

Image Courtesy:dnaindia.com

Lakhs of Indian farmers took to the streets, sat under the scorching sun, put their bodies on railway tracks, to demand what are their basic rights. Fair price for the crop they grow, rights over the land they till. They marched, sat on dharnas, courted arrest, and protested throughout the country, and were supported by secular politicians, civil rights activists, even film stars, sporting heroes, and pop singers, both on the ground and on social media. Global media including the BBC, and Reuters, covered the protest, the first of its kind in the world since the Covid-19 pandemic hit. 

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020; The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce Bill, 2020; and The Farmers Agreement on Prices Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, all laws now, have unified the farmers, to protest and demand that they be withdrawn. These legislations passed through without discussion or debate in the Indian Parliament last Sunday made a mockery of parliamentary democracy too.

How did the union government respond? It celebrated the birthday of  Deendayal Upadhyaya, one of the most prominent ideologues for those aligned with the right-wing ideology. He was a co-founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, that later gave birth to the Bharatiya Janata Party. Hence Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, Government of India, was busy in his role as primarily a BJP worker. He remained busy with the birthday celebrations. 

 

Not that the farmers of India actually expected that the Agricultural minister would spare some time to address them, and listen to their concerns. They continued to protest the three controversial agricultural bills that became Law, once they were passed in the Rajya Sabha, despite lacking the required number of votes on September 20. That act of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) completely affronted the essence of democracy and disregarded Parliamentary rule and procedure. Incidentally, as reported by SabrangIndia earlier, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare had admitted to the agrarian crisis on September 18 when it said that more than 10,000 farmers, cultivators had died by suicide in 2019. This is part of the staggering 42,000 suicide deaths in the informal sector in that year. With the new “reforms” things are likely to just get worse.

However on September 25,the agriculture minister chose to quote Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words from the BJP’s event celebrating Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s birth anniversary that “Some people were misleading farmers and, people are spreading rumors, because of political interests. 

 

He also spent most of his time, as shown in his various social media posts, with party work, and among other things also dedicated to the public, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee International Convention Center of Jiwaji University Gwalior, which he said was made at a cost of Rs 23 Crore.

 

His junior minister Parshottam Rupala too seemed to have a similar schedule. No time to speak of, for, or to the indian farmers who are still protesting, against the new Acts, they feel will harm their future.

 

He was merely following the leader it seems.  Prime MInister Narendra Modi too had a busy day, addressing his party workers on the birth anniversary celebrations.
 

He also spoke to Japan’s new prime minister Yoshihide Suga

 

It was only the BJP ally, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir S Badal who joined the afters, but only to say that his wife, and former minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s resignation had “shaken up Modi. For the past two months, there was no word on farmers, but now 5-5 ministers speak on it" The former ally is now planning a major protest march on October 1 and says it “will shake up the throne in Delhi as well the one in Chandigarh.

 

Related: 

Farmer Protests: From streets to social media
MSP for farmers: Exposing the lies of the Modi government
Amendments to agricultural laws, dangerous for farmers: National Unions
Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s resignation, a public warning from Punjab farmers?Over 42,000 workers from informal sector allegedly die by suicide
Oppn boycotts Lok Sabha over farm Bills, Dharna by suspended MPs on

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Bihar Assembly election dates announced

EC makes special provisions in wake of Covid, cautions against hate speech and fake news

25 Sep 2020

Image Courtesy:business-standard.com

The Bihar State Assembly election dates have been announced. Polling for the mammoth 243-member assembly will take place in three phases with polling taking place on October 28, November 3 and November 7, 2020. Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora announced the dates at a press conference on Friday, September 25, 2020. With the announcement of the dates, the Model Code of Conduct comes into effect immediately.

Following are the key dates associated with each phase: 

Bihar Assembly Elections 2020: Phase 1


Date of issue of gazette notification: Oct 1

Last date of nomination: Oct 8

Scrutiny of nomination: Oct 9

Last date of withdrawal of candidature: Oct 12

Date of polling: Oct 28

Date of counting: Nov 10

 

Bihar Assembly Elections 2020: Phase 2


Date of issue of gazette notification: Oct 9

Last date of nomination: Oct 16

Scrutiny of nomination: Oct 17

Last date of withdrawal of candidature: Oct 19

Date of polling: Nov 3

Date of counting: Nov 10


Bihar Assembly Elections 2020: Phase 3
 

Date of issue of gazette notification: Oct 13

Last date of nomination: Oct 20

Scrutiny of nomination: Oct 21

Last date of withdrawal of candidature: Oct 23

Date of polling: Nov 7

Date of counting: Nov 10

At present Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of the Janata Dal United, leads a coalition government with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as well as Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM). The Opposition is led by Tejashwi Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). Yadav is the son of two former Bihar Chief Ministers Laloo Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi. Of the 243 seats, 38 are reserved for Scheduled Castes and two for Scheduled Tribes.

Over 72 lakh eligible voters are expected to vote at more than one lakh polling stations. The number of polling stations was increased to decongest them. Therefore, while earlier 1,500 electors voted at one polling station, this year the number has been capped to 1,000. Moreover, the duration of the voting period has been increased by one hour. Voting will now be held from 7 A.M to 6 P.M.

Polling in the times of Corona

Special provisions are being made to ensure the smooth conduct of elections amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. These include arrangements for over 7 lakh units of hand sanitisers, 46 lakh masks, 6 lakh PPE kits, 6.7 lakh units of faces-shields and 23 lakh (pairs of) hand gloves. In fact, 7.2 crore single-use hand gloves have been arranged for voters.

Additionally, a provision has been made for filing nomination papers online, though the offline option is still available. However, the number of people accompanying the candidate during filing nominations has been restricted to just two people. Moreover, candidates can now transfer their security deposit online as well. When it comes to door-to-door campaigning, the number of people has been restricted to five persons.

Additionally, people who are Covid positive can avail benefits of the postal ballot. If they want to vote in person, they can do so in the last hour at their designated polling booth. Senior citizens over the age of 80 can vote via postal ballot. Person with disabilities can also avail the facility, or utilize the provision of free passes to public transport on polling day. It has also been announced that all polling stations will be located on ground level and have wheeelchairs available to facilitate ease of voting for persons with disabilities.

CEC Sunil Arora also raised concerns over the proliferation of hate speech and fake news via social media. He said, “Adverse use of social media has emerged a challenged in the recent times. Digital platforms are dealth with sternly. We would like to make it clear that anyone who makes mysterious use of social media for electoral purpose shall face the consequences under the law.”

Impact of protests and other political machinations

The announcement of polling dates took place on a day when peasants and workers are agitating against anti-people policies of the regime. Recently, the government passed three key agriculture bills in the Parliament without discussion. All of these bills appear to pander to the corporate lobby even as they adversely impact rights of farmers, especially those who are small or marginal farmers. Farmers in Bihar are likely to bear brunt of these ‘anti-farmer’ policies of the state. Cashing in on the chance of a photo-op, Tejashwi Yadav was seen riding a tractor to show support for farmers’ rights. Meanwhile, HAM leader Jitin Ram Manjhi has already distanced himself from the opposition alliance. Now, RLSP leader Upendra Kushawa has openly said that Yadav’s leadership is unacceptable to him.

There is no dearth of drama amidst the ruling coalition either with LJP’s Chirag Paswan openly challenging Nitish Kumar, especially in wake of Jitin Ram Manjhi switching sides. Manjhi’s vote base is identical to that of Paswan. Nitish Kumar himself has been swinging partners; first embracing the BJP, then switching allegiance to the RJD, and then running back to the BJP.

Needless to say, in the coming days, we will see a lot of political posturing and back-channel negotiations by leaders on both sides, in order to ensure the seat-sharing arithmetic best suited to them. Will any of this actually benefit impoverished famers and lakhs of migrant workers who have returned to Bihar in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and now face an uncertain future, remains to be seen.

Related:

Agricultural Bills passed sans votes! Nation-wide, farmers rise in anger, Oppn United
Bihar police shower bullets and lathis on Adivasis in Kaimur!
This is about two different versions of our democracy: Manoj K Jha

Bihar Assembly election dates announced

EC makes special provisions in wake of Covid, cautions against hate speech and fake news

Image Courtesy:business-standard.com

The Bihar State Assembly election dates have been announced. Polling for the mammoth 243-member assembly will take place in three phases with polling taking place on October 28, November 3 and November 7, 2020. Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora announced the dates at a press conference on Friday, September 25, 2020. With the announcement of the dates, the Model Code of Conduct comes into effect immediately.

Following are the key dates associated with each phase: 

Bihar Assembly Elections 2020: Phase 1


Date of issue of gazette notification: Oct 1

Last date of nomination: Oct 8

Scrutiny of nomination: Oct 9

Last date of withdrawal of candidature: Oct 12

Date of polling: Oct 28

Date of counting: Nov 10

 

Bihar Assembly Elections 2020: Phase 2


Date of issue of gazette notification: Oct 9

Last date of nomination: Oct 16

Scrutiny of nomination: Oct 17

Last date of withdrawal of candidature: Oct 19

Date of polling: Nov 3

Date of counting: Nov 10


Bihar Assembly Elections 2020: Phase 3
 

Date of issue of gazette notification: Oct 13

Last date of nomination: Oct 20

Scrutiny of nomination: Oct 21

Last date of withdrawal of candidature: Oct 23

Date of polling: Nov 7

Date of counting: Nov 10

At present Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of the Janata Dal United, leads a coalition government with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as well as Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM). The Opposition is led by Tejashwi Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). Yadav is the son of two former Bihar Chief Ministers Laloo Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi. Of the 243 seats, 38 are reserved for Scheduled Castes and two for Scheduled Tribes.

Over 72 lakh eligible voters are expected to vote at more than one lakh polling stations. The number of polling stations was increased to decongest them. Therefore, while earlier 1,500 electors voted at one polling station, this year the number has been capped to 1,000. Moreover, the duration of the voting period has been increased by one hour. Voting will now be held from 7 A.M to 6 P.M.

Polling in the times of Corona

Special provisions are being made to ensure the smooth conduct of elections amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. These include arrangements for over 7 lakh units of hand sanitisers, 46 lakh masks, 6 lakh PPE kits, 6.7 lakh units of faces-shields and 23 lakh (pairs of) hand gloves. In fact, 7.2 crore single-use hand gloves have been arranged for voters.

Additionally, a provision has been made for filing nomination papers online, though the offline option is still available. However, the number of people accompanying the candidate during filing nominations has been restricted to just two people. Moreover, candidates can now transfer their security deposit online as well. When it comes to door-to-door campaigning, the number of people has been restricted to five persons.

Additionally, people who are Covid positive can avail benefits of the postal ballot. If they want to vote in person, they can do so in the last hour at their designated polling booth. Senior citizens over the age of 80 can vote via postal ballot. Person with disabilities can also avail the facility, or utilize the provision of free passes to public transport on polling day. It has also been announced that all polling stations will be located on ground level and have wheeelchairs available to facilitate ease of voting for persons with disabilities.

CEC Sunil Arora also raised concerns over the proliferation of hate speech and fake news via social media. He said, “Adverse use of social media has emerged a challenged in the recent times. Digital platforms are dealth with sternly. We would like to make it clear that anyone who makes mysterious use of social media for electoral purpose shall face the consequences under the law.”

Impact of protests and other political machinations

The announcement of polling dates took place on a day when peasants and workers are agitating against anti-people policies of the regime. Recently, the government passed three key agriculture bills in the Parliament without discussion. All of these bills appear to pander to the corporate lobby even as they adversely impact rights of farmers, especially those who are small or marginal farmers. Farmers in Bihar are likely to bear brunt of these ‘anti-farmer’ policies of the state. Cashing in on the chance of a photo-op, Tejashwi Yadav was seen riding a tractor to show support for farmers’ rights. Meanwhile, HAM leader Jitin Ram Manjhi has already distanced himself from the opposition alliance. Now, RLSP leader Upendra Kushawa has openly said that Yadav’s leadership is unacceptable to him.

There is no dearth of drama amidst the ruling coalition either with LJP’s Chirag Paswan openly challenging Nitish Kumar, especially in wake of Jitin Ram Manjhi switching sides. Manjhi’s vote base is identical to that of Paswan. Nitish Kumar himself has been swinging partners; first embracing the BJP, then switching allegiance to the RJD, and then running back to the BJP.

Needless to say, in the coming days, we will see a lot of political posturing and back-channel negotiations by leaders on both sides, in order to ensure the seat-sharing arithmetic best suited to them. Will any of this actually benefit impoverished famers and lakhs of migrant workers who have returned to Bihar in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and now face an uncertain future, remains to be seen.

Related:

Agricultural Bills passed sans votes! Nation-wide, farmers rise in anger, Oppn United
Bihar police shower bullets and lathis on Adivasis in Kaimur!
This is about two different versions of our democracy: Manoj K Jha

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Clause 6 committee report to be examined by legal experts?

Report had been submitted in February, but not made public officially; Committee had no shortage of legal experts 

24 Sep 2020

Assam

On September 20, 2020 a meeting was held at the residence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi, where one of the key topics of discussion was the next steps to be taken with respect to the Clause 6 committee report.

Brief background

In February 2020, the Clause 6 Committee constituted by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had submitted a slew of recommendations pertaining to Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards for the interests and culture of Assamese people. The 14-member high-powered Committee had been constituted in July 2019 and had been given six months to submit its report, which it did just days before the deadline.

This Report of the Committee on Implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord was however not made public at that time. Then, six months later, some members of the panel including Arunachal Pradesh Advocate General Nilay Dutta and three members of the All Assam Students Union (AASU) released the report independently.

As per the report, what is key to the Committee’s recommendations is a series of amendments to Article 371 B. The report says, “The Committee is of the opinion that to give full effect to its Recommendations, as stated hereinbelow, several Constitutional and legislative amendments will be necessitated. The existing Article 371-B in the Constitution of India will need to be amended.”

Fresh developments

The meeting on September 20, was attended by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, State minister and North Eastern Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma, Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, Joint Secretary (North-east) Satyendra Garg, and Assam Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna, among others. They discussed the future course of action on implementation of the Clause 6 report, grant of Scheduled Tribe status to six communities, implementation of the Bodo Accord and the vital NRC issue, among others.

Speaking to media persons after the meeting, Himanta Biswa Sarma said that since the Clause 6 Committee Report has contents that may require legal amendments, the Union Home Minister has instructed the Chief Minister that the State government should have the report examined by legal experts and determine if there is any need for amendments, and then advise the Centre accordingly.

“The Home Minister does not want the report with legal defects which then may have to be sent back to the State. He wants that the committee’s report should be examined by Constitutional experts so as to ensure that there are no legal lacunae. In future, if the report is stalled because of legal lacunae a wrong signal will go to the people of Assam,” said Sarma.

However, here arises an interesting question. The Committee on implementation of Clause 6 of Assam Accord comprised legal experts like Biplab Kumar Sharma (former Judge, Gauhati High court), Ramesh Barpatragohain (Advocate General of Assam), Nilay Dutta (Advocate General of Arunachal Pradesh), Shantanu Bharali (Legal Advisor to the Chief Minister of Assam) among others.

If the recommendation of such esteemed legal experts requires another round of review, then what was the necessity for inclusion of such legal experts to the committee in the first place? It is alleged that this review is simply an eye wash to placate Bengali Hindus, the core support base of BJP as they have revolted against the report.

Responding to this, Dr Akhil Ranjan Dutta, Head of the Department, Political Science, Gauhati University, said, “For me the suggestion given by the Union Home Minister to Assam Chief Minister to get the Clause 6 Committee Report 2020 examined by legal experts is rather ironic.  The Report has been prepared by a Committee where there are two Advocate Generals of two state governments apart from a High Court Justice (Rtd.) as the Chairperson. Now, how do the legal experts nominated by the State Government examine it? Will it be examined by Constitutional experts? If it is by Constitutional Experts then it is a bit reasonable as they may bring in questions like how do reservations of various kinds up to 80% based on 1951 as the cut off year even for recruitment in the private sector conform to the very premises of universal citizenship.”

Dr Dutta added, “But, more important is the sustainability of the propositions in political and social terms? Will these propositions of reservation up to 80% in all representational bodies contribute towards social harmony and peace that propose to deprive the streams of citizens and their descendants of the period between 1951-71 from constitutional and other safeguards? I am raising these questions for debates and discussions. I am neither endorsing nor rejecting the proposals.”

 

Related:

Constitutional and legislative amendments needed to implement Clause 6 of Assam Accord: Committee

Is MHA distancing itself from Assam Clause 6 committee report?

Clause 6 committee report to be examined by legal experts?

Report had been submitted in February, but not made public officially; Committee had no shortage of legal experts 

Assam

On September 20, 2020 a meeting was held at the residence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi, where one of the key topics of discussion was the next steps to be taken with respect to the Clause 6 committee report.

Brief background

In February 2020, the Clause 6 Committee constituted by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had submitted a slew of recommendations pertaining to Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards for the interests and culture of Assamese people. The 14-member high-powered Committee had been constituted in July 2019 and had been given six months to submit its report, which it did just days before the deadline.

This Report of the Committee on Implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord was however not made public at that time. Then, six months later, some members of the panel including Arunachal Pradesh Advocate General Nilay Dutta and three members of the All Assam Students Union (AASU) released the report independently.

As per the report, what is key to the Committee’s recommendations is a series of amendments to Article 371 B. The report says, “The Committee is of the opinion that to give full effect to its Recommendations, as stated hereinbelow, several Constitutional and legislative amendments will be necessitated. The existing Article 371-B in the Constitution of India will need to be amended.”

Fresh developments

The meeting on September 20, was attended by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, State minister and North Eastern Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma, Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, Joint Secretary (North-east) Satyendra Garg, and Assam Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna, among others. They discussed the future course of action on implementation of the Clause 6 report, grant of Scheduled Tribe status to six communities, implementation of the Bodo Accord and the vital NRC issue, among others.

Speaking to media persons after the meeting, Himanta Biswa Sarma said that since the Clause 6 Committee Report has contents that may require legal amendments, the Union Home Minister has instructed the Chief Minister that the State government should have the report examined by legal experts and determine if there is any need for amendments, and then advise the Centre accordingly.

“The Home Minister does not want the report with legal defects which then may have to be sent back to the State. He wants that the committee’s report should be examined by Constitutional experts so as to ensure that there are no legal lacunae. In future, if the report is stalled because of legal lacunae a wrong signal will go to the people of Assam,” said Sarma.

However, here arises an interesting question. The Committee on implementation of Clause 6 of Assam Accord comprised legal experts like Biplab Kumar Sharma (former Judge, Gauhati High court), Ramesh Barpatragohain (Advocate General of Assam), Nilay Dutta (Advocate General of Arunachal Pradesh), Shantanu Bharali (Legal Advisor to the Chief Minister of Assam) among others.

If the recommendation of such esteemed legal experts requires another round of review, then what was the necessity for inclusion of such legal experts to the committee in the first place? It is alleged that this review is simply an eye wash to placate Bengali Hindus, the core support base of BJP as they have revolted against the report.

Responding to this, Dr Akhil Ranjan Dutta, Head of the Department, Political Science, Gauhati University, said, “For me the suggestion given by the Union Home Minister to Assam Chief Minister to get the Clause 6 Committee Report 2020 examined by legal experts is rather ironic.  The Report has been prepared by a Committee where there are two Advocate Generals of two state governments apart from a High Court Justice (Rtd.) as the Chairperson. Now, how do the legal experts nominated by the State Government examine it? Will it be examined by Constitutional experts? If it is by Constitutional Experts then it is a bit reasonable as they may bring in questions like how do reservations of various kinds up to 80% based on 1951 as the cut off year even for recruitment in the private sector conform to the very premises of universal citizenship.”

Dr Dutta added, “But, more important is the sustainability of the propositions in political and social terms? Will these propositions of reservation up to 80% in all representational bodies contribute towards social harmony and peace that propose to deprive the streams of citizens and their descendants of the period between 1951-71 from constitutional and other safeguards? I am raising these questions for debates and discussions. I am neither endorsing nor rejecting the proposals.”

 

Related:

Constitutional and legislative amendments needed to implement Clause 6 of Assam Accord: Committee

Is MHA distancing itself from Assam Clause 6 committee report?

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Malnutrition reduced in India: WCD Ministry

Union Minister Smriti Irani says that recent data shows malnutrition in India has reduced since the NFHS-4 report of 2015-16.

24 Sep 2020

Malnutrition reduced in India
Representation Image
 

In a bizarre revelation, the Minister of Women and Child Development claimed in a submission before the Indian Parliament on September 23 that the percentage of malnutrition in the country had reduced in recent years!

This was in response to a question raised by Member of Parliament Mohammad Jawed about the increasing number of malnourished children (including Bihar) in the last three years.

In reply, Union Minister Smriti Irani said that the National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-4 report of 2015-16 showed that 35.7 percent children under five years of age are underweight and 38.4 percent are stunted. Similarly, the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) report of 2016-18 showed that the prevalence of underweight and stunting among children is 33.4 percent and 34.7 percent respectively.

According to Irani this “indicates a reduction when compared to the levels reported by NFHS-4.” However, unlike the NFHS-4 report, the CNNS report does present data for Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep islands and Puducherry.

A brief comparison of the two reports also showed that the problem of stunting and underweight had improved over the years in Bihar, one of the states that have reported a serious problem of malnutrition. In 2015-16, the NFHS-4 showed that 48.3 percent children under five years in Bihar were stunted while 43.9 percent children under five years were underweight. In 2016-18, the CNNS report said that the percentages of stunted and underweight children under five years had reduced to 42 percent and 38.7 percent respectively.

Similarly, Madhya Pradesh that also faces the problem of malnutrition saw a general decline in stunted and underweight children as per Centre data. The NFHS stated that 42 percent children were stunted while 42.8 percent children were underweight. Later, the CNNS showed that 39.5 percent were stunted while 38.7 were underweight.

When asked about government measures to address the issue of malnutrition among children and the funds proposed for this purpose, the Irani said, “Under the Umbrella Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme, in order to address the issue of malnutrition, Rs. 20532.38 crores, Rs. 3700 crores, Rs. 2500 crores and Rs. 250 crores have been proposed for the year 2020-21 for implementation of Anganwadi Services, POSHAN Abhiyaan, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) and Scheme for Adolescent Girls (SAG) respectively.”

She also said that under the anganwadi services of the Umbrella ICDS Scheme, children under six years of age are given supplementary nutrition such as take-home ration, morning snacks and hot cooked meals.

“The Supplementary Nutrition is provided to bridge the gap between the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) and the Average Daily Intake (ADI) among this age group as per the nutritional standards specified under Schedule II of the Act. Severely malnourished children are provided additional nutrition in the form of food supplement providing 800 Kcal of energy and 20-25 g of protein. Further, for the management of malnourished children without medical complications at the community level, the Composite guidelines have been drafted by the Ministry based on the recommendations of the all stakeholders,” she said.

 

Related:

In Madhya Pradesh, eggs blur the line between religion and nutrition

Why India Is Likely To Miss Its Nutrition Targets For 2022

Feeding Mothers, Fighting Malnutrition: The East Godavari Experience

BJP States Most Resistant To Eggs In Mid-Day Meals, Cite Vegetarian Sentiments

Malnutrition reduced in India: WCD Ministry

Union Minister Smriti Irani says that recent data shows malnutrition in India has reduced since the NFHS-4 report of 2015-16.

Malnutrition reduced in India
Representation Image
 

In a bizarre revelation, the Minister of Women and Child Development claimed in a submission before the Indian Parliament on September 23 that the percentage of malnutrition in the country had reduced in recent years!

This was in response to a question raised by Member of Parliament Mohammad Jawed about the increasing number of malnourished children (including Bihar) in the last three years.

In reply, Union Minister Smriti Irani said that the National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-4 report of 2015-16 showed that 35.7 percent children under five years of age are underweight and 38.4 percent are stunted. Similarly, the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) report of 2016-18 showed that the prevalence of underweight and stunting among children is 33.4 percent and 34.7 percent respectively.

According to Irani this “indicates a reduction when compared to the levels reported by NFHS-4.” However, unlike the NFHS-4 report, the CNNS report does present data for Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep islands and Puducherry.

A brief comparison of the two reports also showed that the problem of stunting and underweight had improved over the years in Bihar, one of the states that have reported a serious problem of malnutrition. In 2015-16, the NFHS-4 showed that 48.3 percent children under five years in Bihar were stunted while 43.9 percent children under five years were underweight. In 2016-18, the CNNS report said that the percentages of stunted and underweight children under five years had reduced to 42 percent and 38.7 percent respectively.

Similarly, Madhya Pradesh that also faces the problem of malnutrition saw a general decline in stunted and underweight children as per Centre data. The NFHS stated that 42 percent children were stunted while 42.8 percent children were underweight. Later, the CNNS showed that 39.5 percent were stunted while 38.7 were underweight.

When asked about government measures to address the issue of malnutrition among children and the funds proposed for this purpose, the Irani said, “Under the Umbrella Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme, in order to address the issue of malnutrition, Rs. 20532.38 crores, Rs. 3700 crores, Rs. 2500 crores and Rs. 250 crores have been proposed for the year 2020-21 for implementation of Anganwadi Services, POSHAN Abhiyaan, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) and Scheme for Adolescent Girls (SAG) respectively.”

She also said that under the anganwadi services of the Umbrella ICDS Scheme, children under six years of age are given supplementary nutrition such as take-home ration, morning snacks and hot cooked meals.

“The Supplementary Nutrition is provided to bridge the gap between the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) and the Average Daily Intake (ADI) among this age group as per the nutritional standards specified under Schedule II of the Act. Severely malnourished children are provided additional nutrition in the form of food supplement providing 800 Kcal of energy and 20-25 g of protein. Further, for the management of malnourished children without medical complications at the community level, the Composite guidelines have been drafted by the Ministry based on the recommendations of the all stakeholders,” she said.

 

Related:

In Madhya Pradesh, eggs blur the line between religion and nutrition

Why India Is Likely To Miss Its Nutrition Targets For 2022

Feeding Mothers, Fighting Malnutrition: The East Godavari Experience

BJP States Most Resistant To Eggs In Mid-Day Meals, Cite Vegetarian Sentiments

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MSP for farmers: Exposing the lies of the Modi government

Fact checking claims and figures floated by the regime to obfuscate how its latest policies and bills threaten the wellbeing of Indian farmers

24 Sep 2020

MSP

The Narendra Modi-led, NDA II government has resorted to a series of manipulations of figures and data, in an attempt to show that it actually stands for Indian farmers. Farmers have been reeling under the acute distress caused by the Covid-19 lockdown and the agrarian crisis.

On an overdrive to justify the hasty passage of the three bills[1] that threaten the autonomy, livelihood and dignity of India’s Farmers, the Modi 2.0 government is on a propaganda drive, set to deceive the urban middle class (and the farmer) on the issue of Minimum Support Price (MSP) of farmers paid out.

Has there been a hike in the MSP for the Rabi Season (2020-21)?

 

Fact Check

The government claims that under its watch, there has been a substantial hike in MSP the for Rabi Marketing Season 2021-22 in line with the recommendations of Swaminathan Commission (following the principle of fixing the MSPs at a level of at least 1.5 times of the All-India weighted average Cost of Production).

So, is the MSP being offered by this government actually being calculated on the basis of C2 Costs?

Has the ‘benevolent’ government accepted the longstanding demand of the farmers to fix MSP as per C2+50% recommended by the Swaminathan Commission?

Let’s have a look.

A close look at the Rabi Price Policy Report 2021-22 of the Commission on Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) reveals that that what has been actually used as the base cost to calculate MSP are the A2+FL prices alone.

The table below gives an idea about the huge difference between C2 Costs and A2+FL Costs.

Crops

A2+FL Cost of Production 2021-22 (Rs/quintal)

C2 Cost of Production 2021-22 (Rs/quintal)

MSP for RMS 2021-22 (Rs/quintal)

C2+50%

2021-22

Difference Between C2+505 and MSP for RMS 2021-22 (Rs/quintal)

Wheat

960

1467

1975

2195.5

220.5

Barley

971

1404

1600

2016

506

Gram

2866

4012

5100

6018

918

Lentil (Masur)

2864

4204

5100

6306

1206

Rapeseed & Mustard

2415

3470

4650

5205

600

Safflower

3551

4908

5327

7362

2035

The huge difference between C2+50% and the MSP announced, now becomes clear.

 

Difference Between C2 and A2+FL

WHEAT

Lets take wheat which is the main Rabi crop,

The C2 cost calculated by the main wheat growing States of Punjab and Haryana was Rs.1864/ quintal and Rs.1705/ quintal, respectively.

However, the Centrally controlled CACP figures show the C2 cost for Punjab only as Rs.1287/quintal which is Rs.577/quintal lower for the Punjab. For Haryana, CACP (fudged) figures show the C2 cost at Rs.1500/quintal or Rs.205/quintal below the State Government calculations.

It is the states who calculate the C2 costs. But the Modi government is using depressed costs, decided by the CACP and a weighted average of costs of all States has arrived at a figure (A2 + FL, as shown in the Table) which are far below the C2 costs.

Result: As the A2+FL figures in the table show, these are at base level far below the C2 costs so arrived; in the case of wheat it is Rs.507/Qtl lower than C2 costs.

The Ffarmer who cultivates wheat is being duped by this ingenuous (or cynical) manipulation of pricing figures)

 

BARLEY, GRAM, LENTILS, RAPESEED, MUSTARD AND SAFFLOWER SEED:

In Barley the difference between the two methods of calculation amounts to Rs.433/quintal, Rs.1,146/quintal for Gram Rs.1,340/quintal for Lentils, Rs.1055/quintal for Rapeseed and Mustard; and Rs.1357/quintal for Sunflower.

Difference Between C2+50% and Rabi MSP 2021-22

If the MSP had been actually been guaranteed as per C2+50% even taking CACP calculations the farmer would have got Rs.220.5/quintal more for wheat, Rs.506/ quintal more for Barley, Rs.918/ quintal more for Gram, Rs. 1206/ quintal more for Lentil, Rs.600/ quintal more for Rapeseed and Mustard and Rs.2035/ quintal more for Safflower.

Indian farmers are already incurring huge losses due to the obstinate refusal of the Narendra Modi led BJP Government to fix MSP as per C2+50%.  The reality is that crops are not even procured at the rates mentioned here. Only about 30 per cent of total wheat production is actually procured at MSP. In most other crops MSP remains notional as there is no procurement by government.


Related:

Amendments to agricultural laws, dangerous for farmers: National Unions

Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s resignation, a public warning from Punjab farmers?

Over 42,000 workers from informal sector allegedly die by suicide

AIKS congratulates farmers on protests against anti-farmer ordinances issued by Centre

 

 

[1] The three Bills in question are the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill which had received widespread condemnation from farmer’s Unions for their pro-corporate policies.

 

MSP for farmers: Exposing the lies of the Modi government

Fact checking claims and figures floated by the regime to obfuscate how its latest policies and bills threaten the wellbeing of Indian farmers

MSP

The Narendra Modi-led, NDA II government has resorted to a series of manipulations of figures and data, in an attempt to show that it actually stands for Indian farmers. Farmers have been reeling under the acute distress caused by the Covid-19 lockdown and the agrarian crisis.

On an overdrive to justify the hasty passage of the three bills[1] that threaten the autonomy, livelihood and dignity of India’s Farmers, the Modi 2.0 government is on a propaganda drive, set to deceive the urban middle class (and the farmer) on the issue of Minimum Support Price (MSP) of farmers paid out.

Has there been a hike in the MSP for the Rabi Season (2020-21)?

 

Fact Check

The government claims that under its watch, there has been a substantial hike in MSP the for Rabi Marketing Season 2021-22 in line with the recommendations of Swaminathan Commission (following the principle of fixing the MSPs at a level of at least 1.5 times of the All-India weighted average Cost of Production).

So, is the MSP being offered by this government actually being calculated on the basis of C2 Costs?

Has the ‘benevolent’ government accepted the longstanding demand of the farmers to fix MSP as per C2+50% recommended by the Swaminathan Commission?

Let’s have a look.

A close look at the Rabi Price Policy Report 2021-22 of the Commission on Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) reveals that that what has been actually used as the base cost to calculate MSP are the A2+FL prices alone.

The table below gives an idea about the huge difference between C2 Costs and A2+FL Costs.

Crops

A2+FL Cost of Production 2021-22 (Rs/quintal)

C2 Cost of Production 2021-22 (Rs/quintal)

MSP for RMS 2021-22 (Rs/quintal)

C2+50%

2021-22

Difference Between C2+505 and MSP for RMS 2021-22 (Rs/quintal)

Wheat

960

1467

1975

2195.5

220.5

Barley

971

1404

1600

2016

506

Gram

2866

4012

5100

6018

918

Lentil (Masur)

2864

4204

5100

6306

1206

Rapeseed & Mustard

2415

3470

4650

5205

600

Safflower

3551

4908

5327

7362

2035

The huge difference between C2+50% and the MSP announced, now becomes clear.

 

Difference Between C2 and A2+FL

WHEAT

Lets take wheat which is the main Rabi crop,

The C2 cost calculated by the main wheat growing States of Punjab and Haryana was Rs.1864/ quintal and Rs.1705/ quintal, respectively.

However, the Centrally controlled CACP figures show the C2 cost for Punjab only as Rs.1287/quintal which is Rs.577/quintal lower for the Punjab. For Haryana, CACP (fudged) figures show the C2 cost at Rs.1500/quintal or Rs.205/quintal below the State Government calculations.

It is the states who calculate the C2 costs. But the Modi government is using depressed costs, decided by the CACP and a weighted average of costs of all States has arrived at a figure (A2 + FL, as shown in the Table) which are far below the C2 costs.

Result: As the A2+FL figures in the table show, these are at base level far below the C2 costs so arrived; in the case of wheat it is Rs.507/Qtl lower than C2 costs.

The Ffarmer who cultivates wheat is being duped by this ingenuous (or cynical) manipulation of pricing figures)

 

BARLEY, GRAM, LENTILS, RAPESEED, MUSTARD AND SAFFLOWER SEED:

In Barley the difference between the two methods of calculation amounts to Rs.433/quintal, Rs.1,146/quintal for Gram Rs.1,340/quintal for Lentils, Rs.1055/quintal for Rapeseed and Mustard; and Rs.1357/quintal for Sunflower.

Difference Between C2+50% and Rabi MSP 2021-22

If the MSP had been actually been guaranteed as per C2+50% even taking CACP calculations the farmer would have got Rs.220.5/quintal more for wheat, Rs.506/ quintal more for Barley, Rs.918/ quintal more for Gram, Rs. 1206/ quintal more for Lentil, Rs.600/ quintal more for Rapeseed and Mustard and Rs.2035/ quintal more for Safflower.

Indian farmers are already incurring huge losses due to the obstinate refusal of the Narendra Modi led BJP Government to fix MSP as per C2+50%.  The reality is that crops are not even procured at the rates mentioned here. Only about 30 per cent of total wheat production is actually procured at MSP. In most other crops MSP remains notional as there is no procurement by government.


Related:

Amendments to agricultural laws, dangerous for farmers: National Unions

Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s resignation, a public warning from Punjab farmers?

Over 42,000 workers from informal sector allegedly die by suicide

AIKS congratulates farmers on protests against anti-farmer ordinances issued by Centre

 

 

[1] The three Bills in question are the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill which had received widespread condemnation from farmer’s Unions for their pro-corporate policies.

 

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Aakar Patel arrested, then bailed for three tweets on Modi, BJP-RSS & Ghanchi Caste: Gujarat

Patel says the state has become intolerant of dissent. He has been asked to hand over the devices used to post the tweets in question.

23 Sep 2020

Image Courtesy:thewire.in

Aakar Patel, well known columnist and former executive director of Amnesty International India, has stated on Twitter that he was arrested and then let out on bail earlier this week for allegedly posting “offensive” tweets against the Ghanchi community in Gujarat. It was the  Surat City police registered an FIR against Patel, filed by Purnesh Modi, a ruling Bhartiya Janata Party MLA from Surat West constituency and president of the Samast Gujarati Modhvanik Samaj.

 

The criminal complaint-FIR- registered on July 7 states that on June 24 and June 27, Patel had posted three tweets that were objectionable and against the community. Patel has been booked under Sections 153 A, 295 A, 505 (1) B, 505 (1) C, 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code. Most of these sections are non-bailable. The complainant has listed three tweets posted by Patel. In the first two tweets, Patel mentioned that Prime Minister Narendra Modi belonged to the Ghanchi caste, which was added to the Other Backward Caste list in 1999 by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime. Patel goes on to say that the community is “well-off” and is “meat-eating” and that Modi has taken on the manner of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and has turned vegetarian.

In another tweet that followed, Patel has alleged that those involved in the 2002 Sabarmati train carnage belonged to the Muslim Ganchi community.

On June 27, in this third tweet, Patel wrote, “The RSS and BJP always profit by the violence against other Indians, especially Muslims. Vajpayee more than Upadhyaya, Advani more than Vajpayee and Modi more than Advani benefitted from this. We have to stop this cycle of violence and blood profit by the RSS and BJP.”

Ghanchi Caste: Background

Patel’s claim that the crowd involved in the Godhra train fire of 2002 comprised Ghanchi Muslims is not something new, it has been reported widely in the media before. It is also unclear what offence the police believe his first tweet has caused, even though there was a factual inaccuracy.

The Surat police on September 21 recorded Patel’s statement and has now asked for the devices used to tweet to be handed over to the police. Patel says he will soon be handing them over soon.

Although this is not the first time that a criminal case has been registered against the columnist for his vocal stand against the current dispensation, he told the media that he was surprised when he was informed about the FIR. “I was surprised it was filed. The tweets are factual,” he responded in an email. Patel says he will defend himself and will be weighing his options to see if the FIR can be quashed.

In the past sixweeks, Patel has been informed of at least two police cases against him and he says both of them were registered in BJP-ruled states. “The state has become quite intolerant of dissent. This (the tweets) is not an original observation and is not a new phenomenon. What is new is the extreme to which it is taken, especially at a time when the government ought really to be focussed on its work,” Patel shared.

While Patel has been individually targeted, in the past, when he was associated with Amnesty International India, both he and the organisation had been targeted several times by both the state and central machinery. “There are other cases (I have lost count of the number) related to the organisation (Amnesty International India) I was working for until last year, which continues to be harassed through the (Central Bureau of Investigation) CBI, Enforcement Directorate and (Ministry of Home Affairs) MHA and through cases like sedition filed by the (Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad) ABVP,” Patel alleges.

In 2002, Aakar Patel, along with Dilip Padgaonkar and BG Verghese had authored the Editor's Guild report on media coverage of 2002, Rights and Wrongs. The report had meticulously documented what had gone wrong within the media coverage (build up and fall out) of the communal carnage, also highlighting individual efforts that stood out for fair reporting upholding the ethics of the profession.

Aakar Patel arrested, then bailed for three tweets on Modi, BJP-RSS & Ghanchi Caste: Gujarat

Patel says the state has become intolerant of dissent. He has been asked to hand over the devices used to post the tweets in question.

Image Courtesy:thewire.in

Aakar Patel, well known columnist and former executive director of Amnesty International India, has stated on Twitter that he was arrested and then let out on bail earlier this week for allegedly posting “offensive” tweets against the Ghanchi community in Gujarat. It was the  Surat City police registered an FIR against Patel, filed by Purnesh Modi, a ruling Bhartiya Janata Party MLA from Surat West constituency and president of the Samast Gujarati Modhvanik Samaj.

 

The criminal complaint-FIR- registered on July 7 states that on June 24 and June 27, Patel had posted three tweets that were objectionable and against the community. Patel has been booked under Sections 153 A, 295 A, 505 (1) B, 505 (1) C, 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code. Most of these sections are non-bailable. The complainant has listed three tweets posted by Patel. In the first two tweets, Patel mentioned that Prime Minister Narendra Modi belonged to the Ghanchi caste, which was added to the Other Backward Caste list in 1999 by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime. Patel goes on to say that the community is “well-off” and is “meat-eating” and that Modi has taken on the manner of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and has turned vegetarian.

In another tweet that followed, Patel has alleged that those involved in the 2002 Sabarmati train carnage belonged to the Muslim Ganchi community.

On June 27, in this third tweet, Patel wrote, “The RSS and BJP always profit by the violence against other Indians, especially Muslims. Vajpayee more than Upadhyaya, Advani more than Vajpayee and Modi more than Advani benefitted from this. We have to stop this cycle of violence and blood profit by the RSS and BJP.”

Ghanchi Caste: Background

Patel’s claim that the crowd involved in the Godhra train fire of 2002 comprised Ghanchi Muslims is not something new, it has been reported widely in the media before. It is also unclear what offence the police believe his first tweet has caused, even though there was a factual inaccuracy.

The Surat police on September 21 recorded Patel’s statement and has now asked for the devices used to tweet to be handed over to the police. Patel says he will soon be handing them over soon.

Although this is not the first time that a criminal case has been registered against the columnist for his vocal stand against the current dispensation, he told the media that he was surprised when he was informed about the FIR. “I was surprised it was filed. The tweets are factual,” he responded in an email. Patel says he will defend himself and will be weighing his options to see if the FIR can be quashed.

In the past sixweeks, Patel has been informed of at least two police cases against him and he says both of them were registered in BJP-ruled states. “The state has become quite intolerant of dissent. This (the tweets) is not an original observation and is not a new phenomenon. What is new is the extreme to which it is taken, especially at a time when the government ought really to be focussed on its work,” Patel shared.

While Patel has been individually targeted, in the past, when he was associated with Amnesty International India, both he and the organisation had been targeted several times by both the state and central machinery. “There are other cases (I have lost count of the number) related to the organisation (Amnesty International India) I was working for until last year, which continues to be harassed through the (Central Bureau of Investigation) CBI, Enforcement Directorate and (Ministry of Home Affairs) MHA and through cases like sedition filed by the (Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad) ABVP,” Patel alleges.

In 2002, Aakar Patel, along with Dilip Padgaonkar and BG Verghese had authored the Editor's Guild report on media coverage of 2002, Rights and Wrongs. The report had meticulously documented what had gone wrong within the media coverage (build up and fall out) of the communal carnage, also highlighting individual efforts that stood out for fair reporting upholding the ethics of the profession.

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Voices of dissent course through the country

Thousands of people came together to decry anti-labour, anti-farmer and anti-people laws passed by the Centre in recent days.

23 Sep 2020

dissent

Workers from over a lakh different locations across India answered the call of Central Trade Unions (CTUs,) independent associations and federations working in the field of labour rights, to hold demonstrations against the anti-labour, anti-farmer and anti-national policies of the Central Government, said a joint press release on September 23.

In Delhi, the leaders of the Indian National Trade Union Congress, the All India Trade Union Congress, the Hindi Mazdoor Sabha and many others gathered near Jantar Mantar in Delhi to register their protest.

 

The demonstrators had gathered to condemn the three labour codes (now passed in Upper House of Parliament) introduced by the government in December 2019. These labour codes were whetted by the parliamentary committee in the Lok Sabha, empty of major opposition parties.

“The Government, hell bent on getting the codes passed in this session, not only against parliamentary norms, but in opposition to the entire Trade Union movement of the country, so that rights to strike, to form trade unions, to social security etc. can be severely curtailed,” said the joint press release.

 

Protests took place all over the country with citizens also adding their voice to the dissent.

 

 

Others reported of incidents where demonstrations were forcefully stopped by the police.

 

 

The speakers at Jantar Mantar also talked about the forceful passing of anti-farmer Bills. They talked about the pandemonium in the Upper House after the Centre refused to have a proper vote on the bills.

“The Government suspended the opposition MPs and got the Agri-Bills passed in their absence. The spontaneous reaction can be seen in the entire country including Rasta Roko in Punjab and Haryana by Kisans, which even led a SAD minister to resign from the cabinet in protest,” they said.

The press release also condemned the Prime Minister for “mouthing falsehoods such as denying privatisation of railways, when you can see private trains running, bypassing APMCs in the interest of big traders and corporates as being in the interest of the farmer and so on.”

A similar protest regarding the privatisation process also took place in Andhra Pradesh.

Meanwhile, Opposition parties staged a joint protest against the anti-farmer and anti-labour laws near Parliament premises after the Upper House was adjourned without a later date of resumption.

 

 

“The speakers recalled how Bhagat Singh and Sir Chhotu Ram had fought the Britishers when they tried to bring in legislation against the interests of the workers and the farmers. The incumbent BJP Government was following in the footsteps of the Britishers, using unconstitutional means again to enslave the workers and the farmers to the interests of the corporates and it was the duty of the workers and the farmers to beat them back for their own constitutional rights,” said the CTUs press statement.

Carrying forward the spirit of solidarity, the CTUS appealed to the workers to stand with their brothers, the farmers, when they go into action on 25th September, 2020.

 

Related:

First they came for the farmers, now they come for the workers

Labour Codes Issues: Spelling out the ABCs

New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI) demands that governments retract changes in labour laws

Amendments to agricultural laws, dangerous for farmers: National Unions

Voices of dissent course through the country

Thousands of people came together to decry anti-labour, anti-farmer and anti-people laws passed by the Centre in recent days.

dissent

Workers from over a lakh different locations across India answered the call of Central Trade Unions (CTUs,) independent associations and federations working in the field of labour rights, to hold demonstrations against the anti-labour, anti-farmer and anti-national policies of the Central Government, said a joint press release on September 23.

In Delhi, the leaders of the Indian National Trade Union Congress, the All India Trade Union Congress, the Hindi Mazdoor Sabha and many others gathered near Jantar Mantar in Delhi to register their protest.

 

The demonstrators had gathered to condemn the three labour codes (now passed in Upper House of Parliament) introduced by the government in December 2019. These labour codes were whetted by the parliamentary committee in the Lok Sabha, empty of major opposition parties.

“The Government, hell bent on getting the codes passed in this session, not only against parliamentary norms, but in opposition to the entire Trade Union movement of the country, so that rights to strike, to form trade unions, to social security etc. can be severely curtailed,” said the joint press release.

 

Protests took place all over the country with citizens also adding their voice to the dissent.

 

 

Others reported of incidents where demonstrations were forcefully stopped by the police.

 

 

The speakers at Jantar Mantar also talked about the forceful passing of anti-farmer Bills. They talked about the pandemonium in the Upper House after the Centre refused to have a proper vote on the bills.

“The Government suspended the opposition MPs and got the Agri-Bills passed in their absence. The spontaneous reaction can be seen in the entire country including Rasta Roko in Punjab and Haryana by Kisans, which even led a SAD minister to resign from the cabinet in protest,” they said.

The press release also condemned the Prime Minister for “mouthing falsehoods such as denying privatisation of railways, when you can see private trains running, bypassing APMCs in the interest of big traders and corporates as being in the interest of the farmer and so on.”

A similar protest regarding the privatisation process also took place in Andhra Pradesh.

Meanwhile, Opposition parties staged a joint protest against the anti-farmer and anti-labour laws near Parliament premises after the Upper House was adjourned without a later date of resumption.

 

 

“The speakers recalled how Bhagat Singh and Sir Chhotu Ram had fought the Britishers when they tried to bring in legislation against the interests of the workers and the farmers. The incumbent BJP Government was following in the footsteps of the Britishers, using unconstitutional means again to enslave the workers and the farmers to the interests of the corporates and it was the duty of the workers and the farmers to beat them back for their own constitutional rights,” said the CTUs press statement.

Carrying forward the spirit of solidarity, the CTUS appealed to the workers to stand with their brothers, the farmers, when they go into action on 25th September, 2020.

 

Related:

First they came for the farmers, now they come for the workers

Labour Codes Issues: Spelling out the ABCs

New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI) demands that governments retract changes in labour laws

Amendments to agricultural laws, dangerous for farmers: National Unions

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KPSS chief fires salvo against Relief Department on Day 4 of Fast-unto-Death

The Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti is demanding urgent reforms for non-migrant families from the community in the Valley

23 Sep 2020

kashmiri pandits

As the Fast-unto-Death of Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS) President Sanjay Tickoo entered its fourth day, the organisation decried the apathy of officials of the Disaster Management Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (DMRR&R) Department of the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

Tickoo had, in an interview to us on Tuesday, said, “We have visited them many times, but they remain arrogant. Plus, every time we have sent a memorandum or representation to any authority, we have sent it to the Relief Department as well. Yet they have failed to act. In fact, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had on June 23 asked them to expedite the selection process for jobs for eligible non-migrant Kashmiri Pandit youths as per the government scheme. However, they have not taken any action! It makes one wonder if the Relief Department officials are deliberately ignoring us. I wonder if all our memorandums are just thrown into the dustbin!”

In a press statement issued on Wednesday, KPSS added to this saying, “Officers and officials of DMRR&R have hijacked the entire relief and rehabilitation of Non-Migrant Kashmiri Pandits / Kashmiri Hindus under some vicious and sadistic agenda and are misleading their superiors and media. Despite Two Parliamentary Standing Committees recommendations, three speaking orders/judgments from Hon’ble High Court in different petitions and two recommendations from the Ministry of Home Affairs mean nothing to DMRR&R.”

The KPSS also alleges, “In order to save themselves from inquiry they have started to manufacture stories and manipulate facts. Massive malpractices are going on in the DMRR&R Department and every officer and officials misuse his official position for some vested interests. For more than two years, the officers and officials of the DMRR&R Department have come up with excuses and delaying tactics to sabotage the recommendations and directions of the higher authorities.”

kashmiri pandits

It is noteworthy that despite the forced exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the region in the late 80s and early 90s, even today 808 families remain, living in over 200 locations across the Valley. At least 150 of them are Below Poverty Line (BPL) families, struggling for food and medical care. Unemployment is a huge concern, despite a 2016 J&K High Court order to implement employment schemes for eligible youth. It is the non-implementation of these schemes that have exacerbated the suffering of the community as it directly impacts their economic condition.

The KPSS has now released a series of orders passed by various authorities that have been allegedly ignored by the DMRR&R department. The orders may be viewed here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related:

KPSS begins fast-unto-death
Kashmiri Pandit delegation meets J&K LG
Here’s why non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits feel betrayed
Teesta Setalvad in Conversation with Sanjay Tickoo
CJP demands justice for non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits

 

KPSS chief fires salvo against Relief Department on Day 4 of Fast-unto-Death

The Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti is demanding urgent reforms for non-migrant families from the community in the Valley

kashmiri pandits

As the Fast-unto-Death of Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS) President Sanjay Tickoo entered its fourth day, the organisation decried the apathy of officials of the Disaster Management Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (DMRR&R) Department of the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

Tickoo had, in an interview to us on Tuesday, said, “We have visited them many times, but they remain arrogant. Plus, every time we have sent a memorandum or representation to any authority, we have sent it to the Relief Department as well. Yet they have failed to act. In fact, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had on June 23 asked them to expedite the selection process for jobs for eligible non-migrant Kashmiri Pandit youths as per the government scheme. However, they have not taken any action! It makes one wonder if the Relief Department officials are deliberately ignoring us. I wonder if all our memorandums are just thrown into the dustbin!”

In a press statement issued on Wednesday, KPSS added to this saying, “Officers and officials of DMRR&R have hijacked the entire relief and rehabilitation of Non-Migrant Kashmiri Pandits / Kashmiri Hindus under some vicious and sadistic agenda and are misleading their superiors and media. Despite Two Parliamentary Standing Committees recommendations, three speaking orders/judgments from Hon’ble High Court in different petitions and two recommendations from the Ministry of Home Affairs mean nothing to DMRR&R.”

The KPSS also alleges, “In order to save themselves from inquiry they have started to manufacture stories and manipulate facts. Massive malpractices are going on in the DMRR&R Department and every officer and officials misuse his official position for some vested interests. For more than two years, the officers and officials of the DMRR&R Department have come up with excuses and delaying tactics to sabotage the recommendations and directions of the higher authorities.”

kashmiri pandits

It is noteworthy that despite the forced exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the region in the late 80s and early 90s, even today 808 families remain, living in over 200 locations across the Valley. At least 150 of them are Below Poverty Line (BPL) families, struggling for food and medical care. Unemployment is a huge concern, despite a 2016 J&K High Court order to implement employment schemes for eligible youth. It is the non-implementation of these schemes that have exacerbated the suffering of the community as it directly impacts their economic condition.

The KPSS has now released a series of orders passed by various authorities that have been allegedly ignored by the DMRR&R department. The orders may be viewed here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related:

KPSS begins fast-unto-death
Kashmiri Pandit delegation meets J&K LG
Here’s why non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits feel betrayed
Teesta Setalvad in Conversation with Sanjay Tickoo
CJP demands justice for non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits

 

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