Why are the Indian Farmers Putting Up a Determined Fight Against the Farm Laws?

Braving the cold winters and state hostility, farmers have continued protesting against the farm laws that they allege will make them more vulnerable to corporate exploitation by putting an end to the MSP system.

Representative Image Farmers protest against farms bill in Haryana | Image - Twitter

Hundreds of farmers have been collecting in Delhi to protest against the recently passed farm laws as they feel that the initiation of these laws would make them vulnerable to exploitation by the corporate giants and make them susceptible to losing their rights to dignity and wellbeing. The farmers have come to Delhi from many neighbouring states such as Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab against the contentious farm laws. The farmers are confident that the implementation of these laws will leave them at the mercy of corporations and if the Mandi system is exhausted it would radically impact their wellbeing and thereby they are demanding that these laws be altogether repealed. 

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the conflict between the Centre and the farmers has turned out to become nothing short of a total standoff and despite a series of talks between the two parties, there seems to be an exceedingly difficult chance of arriving at any kind of consensus amid the two parties.

The farmers have been braving the cold weather and hostile treatment in the hands of the authorities in addition to a series of talks with the Centre which have so far failed the cause of the farmers but if we look at what lies at the heart of the protests we would see that the farmers insist on strengthening and building upon the Minimum Support Price(MSP) system but the new farm laws seem to be in direct contradiction to having such a system at the heart of the Indian agricultural production. Perhaps that is why these protesting farmers feel that the newly passed farm laws will make them too vulnerable before the corporates and snatch away their rights and dignities. 

Stating that the allegations made by the farmers are false and alleging that they have misunderstood the Centre’s intentions behind the farm laws, the government has maintained that the new laws will neither result in the dismantling of the MSP system nor will it make the farmers further vulnerable. 

The farmers are insisting on retaining the MSP system wherein the government is supposed to procure key crops from the farmers at a minimum price but under the new laws, buyers have been allowed to make a direct purchase of the crops from the farmers and eliminates the system of the middlemen.  

The laws will lead to the generation of an all-India market which will not be regulated by the MSP system and the farmers will be able to sell their produce to the corporates and big buyers at competitive prices in an open competitive market. 

The government asserts that such a system will expose farmers to competition and actually ensure higher prices for all farmers. Despite the insistence of the farmers through the ongoing protests, the Centre has been reluctant and has done nothing to ensure the farmers that it will take care of the MSP system and perhaps that is why, despite a series of talks, the farmers have kept on insisting that the MSP system be guaranteed and the farm laws be revealed altogether.

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