FARMER PROTEST 2.0 (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Economy)

News-CRUX-10     13th February 2024        

Context: Recently, farmers resumed their journey to Delhi after more than two years since their previous protest, as three Union ministers convened a second round of discussions with them in Chandigarh.

Farmer Protest 2.0

  • Background: In 2020, farmers rallied against three contentious laws at Delhi borders, leading to their eventual repeal in 2021. The laws included The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.
  • Preparation for Delhi Chalo March: The Delhi Chalo march, scheduled to commence at 10 am, faces pre-emptive measures by the Haryana government. Fencing around the state aims to deter a recurrence of the 2020-21 protests.
  • Farmers' Protest 2.0 vs. 2020 Agitation

oAgenda Shift: Demands include legal MSP guarantee, full debt waiver, farmer pension, Swaminathan Commission's formula implementation, and withdrawal of 2020 protest cases.

oLeadership Dynamics: New unions, specifically Samyukt Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and Kisan Mazdoor Morcha, spearhead the movement.

oGovernment Response: Negotiation process initiated before the march. Meetings on February 8 and 12 between farmer leaders and Union ministers.

oSecurity Measures: Barbed wire, cement barricades, and road nails; Delhi under Section 144; Haryana-Punjab borders closed.

Demands of the farmers

  • Full debt waiver for farmers and labourers;
  • Implementation of the Land Acquisition Act of 2013, with provisions for written consent from farmers before acquisition, and compensation at four times the collector rate;
  • Punishment for the perpetrators of the October 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri killings;
  • India should withdraw from the World Trade Organization (WTO) and freeze all free trade agreements;
  • Pensions for farmers and farm labourers;
  • Compensation for farmers who died during the Delhi protest, including a job for one family member;
  • Electricity Amendment Bill 2020 should be scrapped;
  • 200 (instead of 100) days’ employment under MGNREGA per year, daily wage of Rs 700, and scheme should be linked with farming;
  • Strict penalties and fines on companies producing fake seeds, pesticides, fertilisers; improvements in seed quality;
  • National commission for spices such as chili and turmeric;
  • Ensure rights of indigenous peoples over water, forests, and land.
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