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Ongoing farmer’s protest and when it is likely to be stopped?

The Indian farmers’ protest of 2020–2021 is an ongoing protest against three agriculture acts approved by India’s Parliament in September 2020.
Farmer unions and their leaders have requested that the laws be abolished and have stated that a compromise will not be accepted. Farmer leaders applauded the Supreme Court of India’s stay decision on the farm rules’ execution, but they rejected the Supreme Court-appointed committee. Farmers have also rejected a government plan to suspend the restrictions for 18 months, which was dated January 21, 2021. Between 14 October 2020 and 22 January 2021, the central government and farmers represented by agricultural unions held eleven rounds of talks, all of which ended in failure.

On the 3rd of February, farmer leaders warned that if the farm regulations were not repealed, the protests would escalate to the point of overthrowing the government. The stay order on the agricultural laws’ implementation is still in effect, and the Supreme Court-appointed committee is continuing its work on the farm legislation. Six state governments (Kerala, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Delhi, and West Bengal) have approved resolutions opposing the agriculture bills, while three states (Punjab, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan) have introduced counter-legislation in their state legislatures. None of the counter-legislation was approved by the governors of the individual states. Many farmer unions have called the measures, known as the Farm Bills, “anti-farmer laws,” and opposition lawmakers have said they would leave farmers to the “mercy of corporations.” Farmers have also asked for the passage of a measure establishing a Minimum Support Price (MSP) to ensure that corporations do not have control over prices. The administration, on the other hand, claims that the rules will make it simple for farmers to sell directly to large customers and that the protests are based on false information.

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Even as farmer protests against three new agriculture-related legislation have gained traction, one thing appears clear: much of the criticism is focused on only one of the three laws. Even in that one, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, there are only a few problematic sections that, while important, can still be negotiated.

The other two laws are:
Take a look at two legislation that shouldn’t cause any concern among farmers.
The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act repeals the Centre’s authority to enforce stockholding limits on foodstuffs, except in “exceptional circumstances.” These could include war, hunger, and other severe natural disasters, as well as annual retail price increases of more than 100% in horticulture, produce (essentially onions and potatoes), and 50% in non-perishables (cereals, pulses, and edible oils). The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act is a piece of legislation that establishes a regulatory framework for contract cultivation. This refers to agreements made by farmers with agribusiness corporations (processors, large merchants, or exporters) prior to any planting/rearing season for the supply of predetermined quality produce at guaranteed minimum pricing.

Unions began conducting local protests soon after the legislation was passed, particularly in Punjab. After two months of protests, farmer unions, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, launched the Dilli Chalo campaign, in which tens of thousands of farmers marched to the nation’s capital. To prevent the farmer unions from invading Haryana and subsequently Delhi, the Indian government ordered police and law enforcement officers from numerous states to attack the demonstrators using water cannons, batons, and tear gas. According to trade unions, a nationwide national strike involving 250 million people took occur on November 26, 2020, in support of farmer unions. On the 30th of November, between 200,000 and 300,000 farmers converged at several border posts along the route to Delhi.  Bengaluru was mentioned specifically on March 21st “….you (farmers) must transform Bengaluru into Delhi. From all sides, you’ll have to lay siege to the city “..  Farmer unions have received backing from transportation unions representing over 14 million truck drivers. On January 26, tens of thousands of farmers marched towards Delhi in a farmer’s procession accompanied by a massive convoy of tractors. The demonstrators veered from the pre-approved paths that the Delhi Police had approved. While some farmer unions have protested the farm legislation, the Indian government maintains that some unions have come out in support of them. By mid-December, the Supreme Court of India had received a slew of applications seeking to have the protesters’ blockades surrounding Delhi removed. The government was also urged to put the laws on hold by the court, but they refused. The first petition in favor of the protesting farmers was filed on January 4, 2021, and the court accepted it. Farmers have stated that if they are told to back off by the courts, they will not comply. Staying the agricultural laws is also not a viable option, according to their leaders. The government proposed various legislative changes. The Indian government agreed to two of the farmers’ demands on December 30th: farmers would be exempt from regulations prohibiting stubble burning and revisions to the new Electricity Ordinance would be dropped.

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Farmers’ unions say the regulations will allow farmers to sell and market agricultural products outside the notified Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis. Furthermore, the laws will permit interstate trade and stimulate increased agricultural electronic trading. The new regulations make it illegal for state governments to charge a market fee, cess, or levy for trade outside of the APMC markets, leading farmers to worry that the laws will “gradually deteriorate and eventually eliminate the mandi system,” putting farmers “at the mercy of corporates.” Farmers also worry that the regulations will put an end to their current relationship with agricultural small-scale entrepreneurs (commission agents who act as middlemen by providing financial loans, ensuring timely procurement, and promising adequate prices for their crops). Furthermore, protesting farmers feel that dissolving the APMC mandis will favor the elimination of the Minimum Support Price for their crops (MSP). As a result, they are demanding that the government guarantee the minimum support prices in writing.

Farmers’ requests as of July 20, 2021, are as follows:
1. Call a special session of Parliament to overturn the agriculture laws.
2. Make the MSP and state crop procurement a legal entitlement.
3. Assurances that the traditional procurement system will continue to exist.
4.Implement the Swaminathan Panel Report by setting the MSP at least 50% higher than the weighted average cost of production.
5. Diesel costs for agricultural usage have been slashed by half.
6. Repeal of the Commission on Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and the accompanying Ordinance 2020, as well as the penalty and fine for stubble burning.
7. Farmers arrested in Punjab for burning rice stubble have been released.
8. Getting rid of the Electricity Ordinance 2020. 9. The federal government should not interfere in state affairs, and decentralization should be practiced. 10. All charges against farmer leaders should be dropped, and they are being released.

Even though Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar appealed to them to cease their agitation and promised to resume discussions, farmer leaders adhered to their demands on Saturday, stating they will call off their protest provided the government repeals the three farms laws.
Farmers will stop protesting if the Agri laws are repealed, according to Yudhvir Singh, general secretary of Bhartiya Kisan Union, an umbrella body of farm unions that is spearheading the campaign.

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