While hundreds of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh among several other states have been camping in Delhi for more than one week now against the recently passed farm laws, the Centre has been making various attempts to calm down the farmers and change their minds on the implications of the farm laws. The farmers have been demanding that the farm laws be taken back and repealed and the MSP system be retained and formalised for the betterment and security of the farmers.
The protesting farmers have been alleging that the farm laws will make them more vulnerable in the hands of mega corporations and leave them unguarded in a highly competitive market without any kind of protection from the government’s side.
In another of its attempts to calm down the protesting farmers and making them realise that the farm laws are indeed in their favour because they will free them from the monopoly of middlemen and allow them to sell their produce at competitive rates, contrary to the allegations made by the farmers that the farm laws will make them impoverished and helpless.
While a series of talks have taken place between the representatives of the farmers and the ministers from the Union, no consensus has been arrived at yet and the farmers have threatened to intensify their protests if the Centre doesn’t pay heed to their demands. On Monday, PM Narendra Modi made another attempt to calm down the farmers and dissolve their growing anger with the farm laws which have been inspiring protests by various farmer groups in different parts of the country for more than two months now.
The protests going on at the borders of Delhi against the farm laws is largely seeing the participation of farmers from states like Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh which can also be visualised as states that experienced the benefits of the Green Revolution.
The farmers have been braving the cold and hostility of the administration to make their voices against the farm laws heard and adhered to by the Centre and their determination and zeal in this regard is being seen as an altogether new assertion of the voice of the farming community in the country.
With the farmers’ resistance gaining a new ground and the failure of several rounds of discussion between the representatives of the farmers and the Centre, PM Modi has appealed to the farmers to trust him and his party’s intentions. He said, “ I want to tell my farmer brothers and sisters from the sacred ghats of the holy city of Varanasi that our intention is as pious as the water of Maa Ganga.”
The fact that the Indian prime minster has to come out and say to the farmers that they ought to trust him explains that the trust deficit among Indian farmers has ben growing and it may take several weeks before the protests subside or the government can arrive at a census with the farmers who look quite determined in their resolve.
The farmers have been saying that they need the Minimum Support Price(MSP) structure in place and that the newly passed farm laws tend to negate its presence and make farmers unprotected and desolate in a highly competitive market space and under the mercy of big corporations and private players without any security or protection by the government.
Thereby one of the most important demands being made by the farmers is for the continuation and formalisation of MSP but the government has failed to assure the farmers that the new laws will do nothing to change the MSP infrastructure even though they have said that the new laws will only empower the Indian farmer and make them less vulnerable to corporate exploitation.
But what is evident is that despite all of these steps and a series of discussions, the protesting farmers don’t seem to be trusting of the Centre’s promises. The lack of trust and the faith deficit is quite evident upon any visit to the protest site and is evident also by the fact that farmers in almost all corners of the nation have been staging protests against the farm laws since the last two months.
Given the wide range of unfulfilled promises in the past, schemes that promised the farmers’ betterment but failed to be rolled out and a lack of effort on the part of the government to build a trusting and mutual relationship of trust and cordiality with the Indian farmers, its quite evident that the disillusionment and discontent being echoed by the protesting farmers in Delhi will take days before subsiding and may call for the government to bow down to more demands than than what it may initially be wanting to.