New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Various farmer organisations across Haryana and Punjab took to streets defying the lockdown rules at place to protest against the three farm ordinances promulgated by the BJP-led Centre. 

The three ordinances notified as a follow-up to the reforms announced in the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ package include Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020 and The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance.

Farmers have expressed outrage against three ordinances passed during lockdown which they believe are “anti-farmers”. We want the Centre to withdraw these anti-farmer ordinances, which will destroy the peasants and leave them at the mercy of market forces, said BKU leader Gurnam Singh, as quoted by news agency PTI.

What are the ordinances about?

The first among them is the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance 2020, which allows farmers to sell produce outside the markets notified under the various state agricultural produce market laws (state APMC Acts).

The second ordinance, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance 2020 talks about contract farming that allows farmers to sell their produce outside of the APMC  via a “framework for farmers to enter into direct contracts with those who wish to buy farm produce”.

The third ordinances, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance 2020, has brought changes into list of essential items whose prices are regulated by the government.

What does the government say?

The government has stated that these ordinances seek to provide barrier-free trade for farmers'' produce outside notified farm mandis, and empower farmers to enter into farming agreements with private players,  prior to production for sale of agri-produce.

Why are the farmers concerned?

Various farmer organisations have argued that under the garb of these ordinances the government is trying to do away with the Minimum Support Price (MSP) regime. They have also expressed apprehension over that the move would dismantle the assured market system and farmers would be at the “mercy” of big corporates.

Congress'' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala expressed solidarity with those protesting against the ordinances and said the party will fight the Modi government "tooth and nail" on this issue.

"These three draconian ordinances are a death knell for agriculture in India. They will subjugate the farmer at the altar of a handful of crony capitalists, making them labourers to toil on their own land rather than getting a remunerative price for their crop under the system of minimum support price," he said at an online press conference.

The BJP, however, has maintained that minimum support price (MSP) mechanism will continue, and appealed to farmers not to believe those trying to spread falsehood in this regard.

What are their demands?

Among the demands made by the farmers, they want a complete rollback of all three ordinances, secondly the mandi system to remain in place, thirdly, their loans be cleared. They also demanded fixation of MSP as per the recommendation of the Swaminathan Commission report- a law mandating at least 50 percent "more than the cost of agricultural produce.

Posted By: Rakesh Kumar Jha