Last week, farmers in Haryana took part in the agitation, not caring for the prevention of corona. Earlier, farmers were going on a sit-in in Punjab and now their assemblies are seen in western Uttar Pradesh. The farmers' displeasure is over the three ordinances which were implemented from June 5 and which are to be introduced in the Parliament during this monsoon session.
While issuing these ordinances, the government stated these to be in the interest of farmers. It was said that these will eliminate the restrictions placed on the farmers and they will be able to get better prices for their produce.
But the farmers who came in the movement say that these ordinances are ending the protection they have received under the existing system of Mandi Committee, so they should be withdrawn instead of giving the form of law.
One of these ordinances allows the sale of agricultural produce anywhere outside the mandi, the other by amending the list of essential commodities, allowing them to buy and store grain, pulses, oil etc. in whatever quantity.
The third ordinance paves the way for contract farming. These three ordinances are important and will bring about such changes in the field of agriculture, which have been suggested for a long time. But if the farmers seem apprehensive about these changes, then that too is not without reason.
It has to be understood that the freedom to sell your crop anywhere and to anyone does not guarantee the minimum support price to the farmers. The government must provide that guarantee through explicit provisions in the Bills being brought in Parliament.
As far as the ban on the purchase and storage of grains and moving towards contract farming is concerned, both these things are related to our bitter experiences of the past.
All the studies show that the horrific Bengal famine of 1943 during World War II, in which about 3 million people were forced to die of hunger, was not the result of lack of production but the result of massive hoarding.
Even in this dreaded period of Corona, if the situation is not sure to deteriorate to a large extent, then a big reason behind it is our huge stocks of food grains which are completely under the control of the government.
Whenever needed, they can be used in favor of common people. This convenience will come out of our hands after allowing big traders to buy food grains and deposit it. Similarly, our memories of contract farming are linked to the era of indigo cultivation. It is natural that the mind of the common farmer will be apprehensive.
Three months after the implementation of the three ordinances, these apprehensions of farmers are coming out, then it is to be expected that the situation will be clarified by the government after the debate in Parliament.