Farmers’ protest: All you need to know

Farmers say the reforms will make them vulnerable to exploitation by big corporations, erode their bargaining power and weaken the government’s MSP system that offers cultivators assured prices from the government
Farmers protest at the Singhu border during their ongoing Dilli Chalo agitation, in New Delhi on Monday.(PTI)
Farmers protest at the Singhu border during their ongoing Dilli Chalo agitation, in New Delhi on Monday.(PTI)
Updated on Dec 01, 2020 11:59 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent | Edited by Sameer

Three laws were enacted in September to allow agri businesses to freely trade farm produce without restrictions. They permit private traders to stockpile large quantities of essential commodities for future sales and lay down new rules for contract farming.

Here is why the laws have triggered protests, their repercussions and what the government is doing about them:

--Farmers say the reforms will make them vulnerable to exploitation by big corporations, erode their bargaining power and weaken the government’s Minimum Support Price system that offers cultivators assured prices from the government.

--They say the laws will help corporate players and will eventually be detrimental to the farm sector, which supports nearly half the country’s population.

Also read | Decision should be for farmers of entire country, not Punjab alone: Farm leaders

--Thousands of farmers have been camping at Delhi’s borders and disrupted traffic movement from and to Haryana at Singhu and Tikri seeking the repeal of the laws.

--The blockade has also hit the supply of goods from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir.

--The Delhi Police have placed concrete barriers and bolstered security at the Ghazipur and Noida border with Uttar Pradesh as the number of protesters swelled there too.

--The government has maintained the laws bring freedom from middlemen even as the farmers see intermediaries as necessary service providers.

--Farm leaders have said they will march to New Delhi for a “decisive battle” against the laws.

--The protesters have stayed put since November 27 even as police have denied them entry into New Delhi and placed multi-layer barricades at the borders.

--Tractor-trolleys have turned into temporary shelters with farmers spending nights under tarpaulin in their vehicles.

--Many have brought ration and other essentials to see themselves through this period.

--On Sunday, leaders spearheading the agitation set fresh terms for talks with the Centre.

--They demanded the Centre name and authorise a Cabinet Committee or a Group of Ministers for future discussions.

--The farmer leaders rejected Union home minister Amit Shah’s offer to advance the date for the next round of talks.

--They said the Union home ministry officials should not lead the discussions as agriculture was outside their jurisdiction.

--Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Monday announced the government has invited leaders of the agitation for talks on Tuesday.

--He advanced by two days a proposed meeting with them.

--A previous round of talks on November 13 involved farm leaders, Tomar, and his cabinet colleague Piyush Goyal.

--Another meeting was held on October 14.

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