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Explained: Why farmers don't trust Modi Govt?

A way out of the current deadlock could be to leave the implementation of the 3 agri bills to the respective states

Thursday December 31, 2020 7:33 AM, ummid.com with inputs from IANS

Farmers Protest

New Delhi: The NDA government at the Centre is not known for rollbacks or for repealing laws that it has passed.

But, in its second term, it now stares at a major demand from protesting farmers at Delhi's border to repeal the three agri laws.

In its first term in 2015, the NDA had put the Land Acquisition Bill on hold. It is now faced with agitating farmers wanting to discuss nothing else except a repeal of the laws at another meeting to be held today.

Some experts have suggested that a way out of the current deadlock could be to leave the implementation of the 3 agri bills to the respective states. It can be decided in the state assemblies.

Maybe, the farmers protest on the borders of Delhi which is now snowballing into protests across several states, is a couple of months late.

The first spark of a faceoff between the farmers community and the central government was lit when the three farmer bills were introduced quickly and passed without debate in Parliament in the third week of September.

Problem Areas in the Bills

The problem areas in the bills which are being raised by protesting farmers now had been flagged way back in September. Some experts and farmer groups saw it as "privatization of agriculture" and compared it with the policy to make prices of petrol and diesel linked to the market. They also saw it as dismantling of APMCs and sarkari mandis which would be run over by corporates.

The government then and now is insisting that the reforms will boost farmers income and provide them more options to sell their produce. It is also firm that MSP will stay while farmers insist that MSP should be legislated into a law to guarantee its continuity.

The protests now have continued for over a month and farmers are adamant that they will only discuss repeal of the three farm bills. On the other hand, the Centre says it won't repeal the laws.

So, there is a deadlock.

To be clear, it is no more a localised protest at Delhi's northern border where Punjab and Haryana farmers have assembled. From the beginning, farmer groups have been saying that it is not a problem of just two states although it seemed so because the MSP for wheat and paddy essentially works on the grounds only in these two crops and in these two states. Large swathes of agriculture in India are well outside the MSP purview.

The protests are now spreading and several states are now feeling the heat. Almost 10,000 farmers assembled in Patna where the police used force. A massive turnout was also witnessed at Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu.

All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) has refuted any possibility of any discussion in the talks today until the agenda of Repeal of the 3 Farm Acts and EB 2020 is taken up first. It said there are mischievous elements planting stories of other issues being taken up.

AIKSCC said the government is deliberately misguiding the nation by asserting that it will promise MSP and procurement, while its own NITI Ayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar writes every day that the govt has massive storage problems and has no intention to buy.

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal who are negotiating with the farmers met Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday to discuss the government strategy.

But even the 6th round of meeting held today failed to end the deadlock, and the next round of meeting has been fixed on January 04.

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