By Yuvraj Singh and Yash Dhaka
" Ghar Waapsi only after Law Waapsi", While this has been the demand of the protesting farmers for more than 2 months, braving the capital’s cold and chilly winters. Farmer's Protest marked the culmination of the biggest protest in the 21st century which today has become one of the most debatable topics, not exclusive to India but for the entire world. Past proponents for the demand of reforms are the ones who are its contemporary targets. The discussion about economics, administration and implementation of the laws are held by its political concerns, offering no solution in sight, even after the 12th rounds of rigorous meetings between the 2 factions.
These are the three laws enacted by the government-
1. The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020
2. The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020
3. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020
These bills aim to transform the agricultural culture and financing in the country, anticipating better economic gains for the farmers, who have been held back by regressive laws, vested interests, and unfair markets, not to be understood in correlation with India becoming self-sufficient in food grains production. The political discourse around the new laws is centered around misinformation and the other political parties are impeccably reaping the benefits from it. The main prerogative behind these new laws is to ensure the greater share of the ultimate price goes to the farmer, which was earlier broken, changed, and brokered at multiple nooks and crooks.
Amidst the pandemic and the protests going country-wise, we conducted a survey across the different schools of JINDAL GLOBAL UNIVERSITY to find out the sentiments of the students regarding the Introduction of the new Farm bill passed by the government. The survey witnessed around 250 responses, out of which 80% of the students understood the farm bills and the changes they will bring with them. It was shocking to see that even when the farm bill intends to revolutionize the agricultural sector and improve the economic gains, most of the people were against them.
It is no more than a co-occurrence that the farmers who are protesting on the borders are from Punjab and Haryana, the states which have gained the most from the traditional agriculture method of APMC’s where the market was dominated by them on the fixation of the MSP and the wholesale trade. The traditional system of MSP is deforming the market by making a huge surplus for the wheat and paddy crops which is decreasing the water tables from the ground level in both the states. The shocking fact is that 39.8% of people feel that with the implementation of the new farm laws, the mandi system will end.
On questioning the reason behind bringing in these laws, around 32% of people responded that they need private investments in the agriculture sector, around 28% feel that there is a need for the removal of intermediaries from the agricultural market. It is also being found that the reason to bring these laws could be related to the fact that India has set a target of $60 billion from the exports made in the agricultural sector by the year 2022. The new farm law will eventually make sure that the real benefit of these markets is accessed by the experts brought in by the law.
The pros and cons of the farm bill are something that is being discussed in the country for months and still the protest continues at the Delhi border. It is high time the government understands that these protests are not just a Zero-sum game but also are a tough challenge that needs to be tackled well in time considering our country has been affected by the pandemic. It is believed that the new farm law will herald the new era of freedom in the agricultural market and is primarily going to benefit the small and the marginal farmers leading to an increase in the economies of scale and bringing more investments in the Agri-sector.
OUR KEY FINDINGS