As One Sows & Shows
As the Farmers’ Protest rocks India now, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged the agitators to have faith in his Government. The request should not be considered as non-toxic, as the PM has targeted the main Opposition party, Indian National Congress! What the PM wants to mean is that farmers have been exploited many a time in the past (i.e. during the Congress era)… so, it has become difficult for them to trust the words of his Government. The PM has tried to assure the farmers that the same story will not get repeated, and the new laws pertaining to farm produces, which are passed by the Government, would benefit them…
The PM could not stop himself from attacking the Opposition party at a time when the Farmers started creating troubles for his Government. Perhaps, the PM did not want to stop himself, as it, seemingly, was a deliberate attempt to distract his countrymen’s attention from the Agitation! It seems that the PM and his Cabinet colleagues are well aware of the fact that the Farmers would not accept those laws. That is, precisely, the reason why the Government has agreed to review the Farmers’ key demands, and to amend some provisions of new laws, as well! Although the Government is accustomed to using State Power to suppress protests, it is facing difficulties in facing the organised Farmers.
It has become increasingly difficult for the Government of India to underestimate the ongoing protests by the Farmers, mainly from northern Indian Provinces of Punjab and Haryana. These protesters have taken to the streets in order to safeguard Community Interest! The newly adopted Farm Laws will allow the Government to deactivate a special system – called ‘Agricultural Produce Market Committee‘ (APMC). APMC is a Marketing Board, established by a Provincial Government in India, to ensure that the farmers are safeguarded from exploitation by large retailers, as well as ensuring the farm that the retail price spread does not reach excessively high levels. So, the new Farm Laws would break the control of marketing important crops, like rice and wheat, through giant market yards. Moreover, the new laws will help the Government phase out the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for such crops (that are currently being provided by the Government).
The wealthy Indian farmers of Northern and Western parts of the country do not want a Free or Open Market for Agricultural Products, as they are currently holding the key to control the market. It is because of these wealthy Farmers the Indian Agricultural Sector is largely deprived of the opportunity of the Liberal Monetary Policy! Whenever the Government of India planned to reform the Agricultural Policy in the past, these Farmers forced the Government to backtrack. As a result, the poor farmers had to suffer a lot!
Perhaps, this history has encouraged Prime Minister Modi to pass these new Farm Laws in the Parliament. What is happening now is the reaction to that decision! Had the Government made the move after discussing the issue with wealthy Farmers, it might have tackled the situation easily. However, the PM has always ignored their demands. It is to be noted that the Indian Farmers had staged a Long March three years ago. Now, they have virtually staged a total blockade in the Indian capital. This is the real significance of this movement!
The protest of a particular interest group symbolises the rivalry between Democracy and the State’s Policy of Repression. It may also trigger a larger protest in the coming days! It, naturally, seems that the ongoing protests in Northern India are an entirely new set of experience during this trying time that would go down in History…
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