When the system is unable to improve your situation, it starts to ruin you. The complexity of the system destroys everything.
A Damru (small drum) has a big and important role in the political and social structure of our country. When the country has to be distracted and taken away from the important issues, then the Damru is handed over. We look at the Damru, and our house is robbed.
The average income of a farmer in India is ₹6,426 per month, or ₹77,112 per year. A farmer will have to fulfil all their basic responsibilities as well as the responsibilities of rural society within this. The recently passed agricultural bills will only hit the farmers’ pockets even more.
Not even having heard the voices of the farmers, the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha simply heard the voice of the government and passed the bill using voice votes. Amid much ruckus in the Rajya Sabha, with the MPs shouting, the bill was passed.
Every year, the farmer is forced to come out on the road, leaves the farms and takes up the flag in their hands. When the flag isn’t effective, they are forced to turn to the noose. A farmer who has suffered the effects of tear gas and lathicharge is still expected to feed the nation.
Farmers’ organizations and unions have been saying that big traders and companies will majorly benefit from the three bills passed in the Rajya Sabha.
Under the Agricultural Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Simplification) Bill, companies will be able to buy grain directly from the farmer and not the market, which is sure to have a negative impact on the Minimum Support Price (MSP). The companies, which used to buy food grains from the mandi (market), will now be able to buy directly from the farmers, which might lead to the collapse of the structure of the mandi. The big corporate houses will reap the benefit. The concern of the farmers is justified because the MSP is not mentioned in the draft of the Act.
The Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Price Assurance Agreement will benefit big companies because this will promote contract farming, where the companies will have the power to fix the price. Looking back, the Champaran Satyagraha was held when the indigo crop was imposed on the farmers and its prices were fixed by the British Raj. At that time Gandhi fought the peasants’ fight, but there is no Gandhi now.
By changing the Essential Commodities Act 1955, the government has opened the way for hoarding and black marketing which will benefit large companies. This is because a common farmer will not able to store grain. Hunger had spread in India in 1955 when the then-Nehru Government had enacted the Essential Commodities Act under which the limits for storage of grains, pulses, onions, tomatoes and potatoes were imposed. Now that the “stock holding limit on commodities will only be imposed under exceptional circumstances like national calamities,” the small farmers of the country won’t get even one per cent benefit out of it.
Currently, 86% of farmers fall into the small and marginal category, each having less than 1.1 hectare of landholding. They neither demanded nor will benefit from these bills. The government did not mention the MSP anywhere in the agricultural bills, so it becomes necessary to protest. A ‘Bharat Bandh‘ (nationwide strike) has been called on September 25 by farmers.
Recently, someone asked innocently, “Bhaarat Bandh kaise hota hai?”(what is a nationwide shutdown/strike in India like) I handled the situation and answered their question. But, while thinking of an answer, I realised that India remains closed more than it is open.
A farmer does Kanya-daan (giving away your daughter) by selling grains before the daughter’s marriage. But now the farmer, who is being lathicharged, is fighting to save agriculture, while our ‘nationalist Netaji’ is doing kheti-daan (giving away agriculture).
The ordinances were brought under the garb handling the COVID-19 pandemic and have been passed indiscriminately. It’s really ironic that the voices of those who the bills affect haven’t been heard.