Truth Farmers Protest 2.0 , Definition and Government Response

 Truth Farmers Protest 2.0 , Definition and Government Response - The resurgence of farmer agitation in India with the commencement of the 2024 Indian farmers' protest on February 13, 2024, mirrors the sentiments and demands witnessed during the 2020–2021 protests. Spearheaded primarily by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha, this protest represents a unified front of farmer organizations advocating for the interests of the agrarian community nationwide.

Truth Farmers Protest 2.0 , Definition and Government Response

The Farmers Protest 2.0 brings to the forefront persistent grievances concerning minimum support prices, agricultural reforms, loan waivers, social security benefits, and crop insurance schemes. It highlights the ongoing struggle of farmers to secure fair compensation and sustainable livelihoods amidst evolving economic policies and challenges in the agricultural sector.

In a significant development, farmers near Delhi opted to pause their protest march following the government's proposal of a five-year plan to purchase pulses, maize, and cotton at minimum support prices (MSP). Discussions in Chandigarh ensued, with farmers deliberating the proposal for two days. The plan involves cooperative societies contracting with farmers, aiming to potentially reduce imports and strengthen local economies. The participation of Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann in these discussions underscores the political significance of the issue. However, the 'Delhi Chalo' march, which demands various reforms including MSP for 23 crops, continues unabated with thousands of farmers. They also advocate for higher duties on imports amidst low farm earnings exacerbated by export restrictions and climate challenges.

Delhi Chalo: Farmers’ Protest 2.0

The "Delhi Chalo: Farmers' Protest 2.0" officially began on February 13, 2024, with demands such as monthly pensions for farmers over 60 and fixed daily wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). The protesters are seeking legal assurance of Minimum Support Price (MSP) for all crops and the implementation of recommendations made by the Swaminathan Committee.

Despite facing barricades at borders and enduring tear gas and rubber bullets, the protesters remain resolute. The absence of notable leaders further complicates negotiations, shedding light on the persistent agrarian grievances and emphasizing the urgent need for government engagement in India’s agricultural reform efforts.

Key Demands of Farmers Protest 2.0

Financial Security 

  • Farmers above 60 years demand a monthly pension of ₹10,000.
  • A fixed daily wage of ₹700 under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) with a guarantee of 200 days of work annually.

Market Support

Legal Guarantee of Minimum Support Price (MSP) for All Crops: The central demand of the protest is a legal framework guaranteeing MSP for all agricultural produce.

Implementation of Swaminathan Committee Recommendations: Farmers seek the implementation of recommendations made by the M.S. Swaminathan Committee to improve income and welfare, including infrastructure development, research and development, and market reforms.

Other Demands 

  • Withdrawal of cases registered during the last agitation in 2020-21.
  • Pensions for farmers, loan waivers, and withdrawal from the World Trade Organization.
  • Ensuring at least 50% profit over the overall cost of production.

Farmers Protest 2.0 Protest Dynamics

Thousands of farmers have gathered at the borders, aiming to march towards the National Capital Region (NCR) of New Delhi. However, authorities have erected barricades and deployed police forces to block their entry. Violent clashes, particularly at the Shambu border between Haryana and Punjab, have seen the use of tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protesting crowds. Internet services have been suspended in several Haryana districts, and Section 144 has been imposed, restricting public gatherings.

Government Response

For Farmers Protest 2.0 The Indian government is under increasing pressure to address the farmers’ grievances and facilitate dialogue to resolve the deadlock. However, talks between farmers’ leaders and government officials have yet to produce significant results. The government's handling of the protest is being closely scrutinized, with calls for constructive engagement to address the longstanding issues raised by the agricultural community.

What Reforms are Needed? Policymakers are engaging with farmers to address their demands.

Redefining Minimum Support Price (MSP): There is a need to broaden the MSP regime beyond the existing 23 crops, which currently represent only 28% of the total value of agricultural and allied produce. Equal MSP Implementation: If the government mandates MSP based on Cost C2 plus a 50% margin for the current MSP crops, the same formula should be applied to all agricultural products, including livestock and horticulture.

Growth in Non-MSP Sectors:

Livestock and horticulture, which account for over 50% of agricultural produce and exhibit growth rates of 5 to 8%, should receive similar benefits as MSP crops, even though they grow without MSP support. Learning from Success Models: Successful integrated value chain models like Amul for milk and vertically integrated poultry sectors should be replicated to mitigate market risks and stabilize incomes.

Productivity and Market Access:

Farmers’ incomes can be augmented by enhancing productivity sustainably and ensuring access to high-quality domestic and international markets. Investment in Agriculture R&D and Irrigation: Long-term investments in research and development and irrigation infrastructure are crucial for improving productivity. Policy Reforms for Market Access: Removing export bans on agricultural products. Eliminating stocking limits on private trade. Halting the sale of wheat and rice below economic cost from FCI, as these measures are detrimental to farmers.

Rebalancing Subsidy Policies:

Subsidies should be reoriented to primarily support producers rather than consumers. For instance, food and fertilizer subsidies can be redirected to directly benefit farmers. Creation of a Price Stabilization Fund: A significant portion of subsidies should be allocated to establish a fund aimed at stabilizing prices for farmers. Targeted Consumer Subsidies: Only a small portion of subsidies should be redirected to support the most vulnerable consumers, with the majority being allocated to support producers. Rational Policy Making: There should be a shift away from populist measures and towards the development of rational policies that effectively balance the interests of both producers and consumers.



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.