Agriculture market laws are illegitimate and unconstitutional: P. Sainath

Farmers protest.

(Asian independent) It has been more than 50 days since the farmers’ protest started at Delhi’s borders. Farmers have burnt the copies of the three agriculture market laws- Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) Bypass law, Contract Farming law and decriminalization of commodity hoarding law. They are gearing up for a tractor rally in Delhi on Republic Day demanding repeal of these illegitimate unconstitutional laws. At a Dialogue on Farm Market Laws in Patna, P. Sainath, Magsaysay Award winner, Founder of People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI) & ex-Editor, Rural Affairs, The Hindu, observed that “Agriculture is a state subject under the Constitution of India. These three laws aggravate the existing agrarian crisis. They should be repealed. The government is playing with fire.” He added, “APMC is to agriculture what the government school is to the education sector and APMC is like the government hospital of the health sector. Reforms must be farmer friendly, and not corporate friendly.”

Sainath demanded a special session of Parliament for hearing the farmers and addressing their demands in the context of unprecedented mobilization of farmers on the issue of the farm market bills. He sought restoration of the farmers’ universe and status that have collapsed because new economic reforms have not been in sync with equality. The dialogue was co-organised by Nation for Farmers (NFF), a collective of non-farmers, Bihar Mahila Samaj (BMS) & Tatpar Foundation on January 16, 2021.

Sainath explained how the farmers are directly confronting the corporate power- “Their protest is in defence of democracy and for reclaiming the republic”. He questioned the enactment of these laws during the pandemic. He explained the many aspects of the agrarian crisis, and how many allied professions have been affected by it and the importance of Minimum Support Price, and how it must be related to procurement. He concluded saying, “This is one of the series of struggles, the nation is with the farmers and this fight is ours, we need to show our solidarity with the mobilization of farmers because it is not an ordinary event. It merits special attention of all sections of society because these laws will have adverse effect on the rights of all the citizens.

Dr. Gopal Krishna of Nation for Farmers introduced the subject and explained the backdrop in which Bihar’s APMC Act was repealed because of irrational and unconvincing reasons and made a case for its restoration. Dr. Anamika Priyadarshini made a case for enactment of a law for the protection of women farmers. Nivedita Jha spoke about the march of women farmers which is being held on the occasion of Mahila Kisan Diwas on January 18.

Sainath is in the capital to participate and speak at the Kisan Sansad on January 17, 2021 at JanShakti Campus, Patna.

This dialogue was organsied by Nation For Farmers (NFF), Bhar Mahila Samaj & Tatpar Foundation.

For Details: Dr. Gopal Krishna, (9818089660), Ms. Nivedita Jha (98350291), Mr. Amit Kumar (9835893121)