Attempt to put farmers at the mercy of market forces is dangerous

ArticleAttempt to put farmers at the mercy of market forces is dangerous


Attempt to put farmers at the mercy of market forces is dangerous

Ubaidullah Nasir

Attempt to put farmers at the mercy of market forces is dangerous

Shaming the democratic system and constitutional provision the Rajya Sabha passed two bills related with agriculture sector. Two of the three farming related legislation piloted by government were passed in upper house with voice vote. Deputy Chairman of the upper house overlooking the opposition demand for voting declared the bill to be passed with voice vote. CPI(M) member of the upper house Mr. KK Ragesh says “I was in my seat when I demanded a vote but the deputy chairman completely ignored my demand. The rule says that even if only one member of the house asks for resolution to be put for vote it should be the chairman clearly acted in undemocratic manner”. Congress’s Jairam Ramesh said “The dictatorial attitude of the chair in not wanting to get a sense of the house led bedlam and chaos. The anti farmer bills were passed in the din without voting. Why the tearing urgency and on whose order? He asked. Summering the whole episode TMC member Derek O’Beron said “The bottom line is that the opposition wanted the voting on the bills and the BJP did not have numbers. Tis story does not end here. The BJP told you it is the historic day but it is sad day for the parliamentary democracy.” On the other hand union minister for parliamentary affairs Prahlad Joshi termed the opposition’s behavior as the height of indiscipline and intolerance. People have given mandate to Narendra Modi. This is the insult of people’s mandate”he said.

Enraged with deputy Chairman’s refusal to allow voting the opposition members created a ruckus in the house broke microphones stood up on tables and flung papers in the air. Not only this first time in the history of our parliamentary democracy twelve opposition parties Congress, Trinamool Congress, DMK Left parties, AAP gave notice for no confidence motion against deputy chairman Harivansh Narain Singh accusing him of violating parliamentary procedures. It may be noted here that Mr Harivansh Narain Singh has been a senior seasoned and veteran journalist and a socialist from his student life. He was made rajya sabha member by JDU and became its deputy chairman inspite of being the new and junior most member of the house. He was expected to practice what he has been preaching since the start of his journalistic career. His erstwhile colleagues are in pain and wondering his behaviour as is visible on social media. Under whose pressure he took this undemocratic and immoral path is well known to all. The mobocracy that the BJP has been displaying outside the house had now been displayed inside the house which is a very dangerous phenomenon and a threat to democracy and constitutional obligations.

The so called agriculture reform legislation that the government has put have created doubts not only among opposition parties but even oldest ally of BJP Shromani Akali Dal by withdrawing its minister Ms. Harsimran Kaur from union cabinet has shown its disapproval and opposition to these so called reforms. Farmer’s union and organisations all over the country are opposing it. Farmers from Haryana and Punjab in thousands have marched to Delhi. They have been lathi charged in BJP ruled Haryana. Bhartiya Kisan Union too has announced biggest demonstration shortly and an all India bandh has been called on 25th of this month to oppose privatization, sale of PSUs and this so called agricultural reform.

By opening the trade for farm produce government through these reforms is giving an open field to private sector in this trade. It claims that the farmers will have the liberty to sell their produce to any one and any where according to the prices of their choice. But it is an eyewash Indian farmers do not have bargaining power they sell their produce immediately after harvestation as they need money for next sowing and other domestic needs thus it is not the farmer who will decide the price of his produce but the trader will purchase it on its own price and terms condition. These traders may even give some advance money to the needy farmers and then will purchase their produce on much lower prices. Though the government assures that MSP will stay and it will decide the minimum support price (MSP) but both provision could not go side by side. On one hand you are opening the market on the other hand you say prices will be decided by us, is not this seems to be a joke? The government through these reforms is also doing away with Mandi a government regulated place where farmers sells their produce under watchfull eyes of government and on MSP rates but now it is handing over them to various unregulated markets thus putting the hapless farmers at the mercy of traders and hoarders. The two farms bills do not contain the provisions that the price farmers will get from traders will not be less than the government’s declared MSP. Secondly the bill undermines the only regulated market available to the farmers ie Mandi. Government thinks that the farmers and traders have equal bargaining power which is a sheer nonsense. The farmers will be at the mercy of market forces . These laws are opening the doors for corporatization of agriculture also which will be a death knell for our farmers so these laws are opposed and must be opposed tooth and nail.

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