Why are there so many farmer agitations in India?

Why are there so many farmer agitations in India?

September 7, 2018 0 By Xamnation Editor

Agriculture forms an important part of economy and employment for any country, and India is not exception with more than 50% of our population engaged in agriculture sector. Therefore, the frequent unrest and protests we see among farmers would not only effect their condition but also the country’s economy.

Farmers agitation is farmers expression of growing anxiety and stress in agriculture sector. This is also to protest against unfulfilled promises related to increase of MSP as per recommendations of the Swaminathan commission & waiving of bank loans, about the crop insurance, or about the land usage rights. Stress and anxiety came out from the difference between input;peasants put in their crops and the ultimate output they get at the end of the season.

Farmers choose to protest a march, constitute a movement, or to stage a rally because it would disturb the common people and also divert the attention of government towards farmers problems.

Every farmer agitation or movement has its own demands and causes for which they are protesting. Also, its not only a economic problem anymore but a major political issue. Often, opposition support and participate in these type of movements to highlight the mistakes of ruling party.

Some organisations, or committees play a vital role in awaring peasants about their rights and also guide them to protest or do march to fulfill their demands. Like;AIKS,KRRS etc.

 

Minimum Support Price

It is the minimum price fixed by Government of India to protect the producers i.e the  farmers , at the starting of any sowing season. This price is fixed at 50% more of the cost value which farmer put in production of the crops. This is done on the recommendation of CACP(Commission for Agricultural costs and prices) .

CACP has three definitions for Cost Production i.e

  1. A2(Actual paid cost)
  2. A+FL(Actual paid out cost with imputed value of family labour)
  • C2(Comprehensive cost including imputed rent & interest on owned land & capital)

Among all these 3 definitions C2 is highest & A2 is lowest.【 C2>A2+FL>A2】

 

 

Why MSP is beneficial?

Main objective of setting MSP is to support farmers from distress sales and to procure food grains for public distribution. Also it was introduced to reduce farmers suicide, which was highly increased in last few years.

In 2006, A report was presented by M.S Swaminathan commission, in which the key recommendation was to setup MSP at cost  value+50% of the cost. And this has become the oft-repeated demand of almost every farmers agitation, alongwith some more of their additional demands.

M.S Swaminathan Commission

Due to increase in farmers suicide, and increasing NPAs(Non-Profit Asset) due to bad loans which farmers couldn’t pay and that too is the biggest reason for them to end their lives, because they think killing themselves would end the debt. Seeing this condition of the primary sector of country i.e agriculture. A commission was formed in 2004 when their was UPA Gov.

 

#   A National Commission on Farmers(NCF) was constituted on November 2004,which was chaired by Prof. Swaminathan. He presented five reports through the period of Dec2004-Oct2006. He focused on causes of Farmers Distress and Rise in Farmers Suicide.

Though, after the government was changed; commission’s recommendations was being ignored and not implemented properly in benefit of peasants or farmers. That is the main reason for the anger of farmers and recently peasants of several states are uniting together to express their protest and demands. Implementation of M.S Swaminathan commission is one most repeated demand of almost every farmer agitation.

# The last report presented by this Commission contains suggestions to achieve the goal of ‘faster and more inclusive growth. Which would equally benefit both the farmers and the country’s economic condition.

Post independence Peasant movements

 

Telangana Rebellion(1947-51)- It was launched in Andhra Pradesh against the former Nizam or the feudal Lords(jagirdars) of Hyderabad.

It was armed rebellion led my Communist Party with slogan land for the tiller.

The main causes were: (a)Exploitation of big peasants, and (b)To pull down the dominance of Brahmins as Agriculturists in state.

It was not so successful for the peasants or farmers. But, this revolt ensured the victory of Communist Party in 1952 elections.

Naxalbari Peasant Struggle(1967)- This was a violent peasant agitation which took place between March-April of 1967 in Darjeeling district of West Bengal.

The main causes were:(a)Economic Dissatisfaction,(b)Reasonable distribution of Benami lands,(c) Nationalisation of Forests,(d) Exploitation by money lender.

Their prime objective was to change the whole society, not only peasants. This was also not very successful, and the main reason for the failure was lack of Consensus among leaders and also too much faith in violence.

 Recent Peasants Movements in India

As the failure of ruling government in implementing the exact recommendations of swaminathan commission, recently huge hike is founded in farmers agitation. Some of the recent movements in different states of country are-

  • Around 20 farmers from Tamil Nadu protested for complete 100 days at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi in September 2017. There leader was Ayyakanu.

{ Demands were- (a) Farm loan waiver, (b) Crop Insurance, (c) Setting up of Cauvery Management Board.

  • Seven states- Haryana,Punjab,Rajasthan,Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra,Karnataka announced a 10 day strike from June 1st’2018.Their protest was under the banner of “Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Maha Sangh(RKMM)”.


{ Demands were: A complete Loan waiver and Implementation of Swaminathan Commission.}

Daily supplies like; milk and vegetables got  hit over the course. Also, the RKMM convenor Shiv Kumar Sharma told about “Gaon Band” stir to be held across 22 states on the last day of strike(10th June).

 

  • Second big movement was seen in beginning of this year which started from Madhya Pradesh and was ended in

All India Kisan Sabha has been in a constant movement in Maharashtra for past two years for fulfilling the demands of farmers.

On March 6,2018, the Maharashtra Rajya Kisan Sabha(A All India Kissan Sabha) led a massive march on foot(approx. 200km) by uniting several Kisan Aayogs(50,000 peasants) of different Indian states from Nashik to Mumbai. Under the banner of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee(AIKSCC}. This march was given the name of Kisan Yatra’.  Kisan Sabha organization is linked to Communist party(Marxist) of India.

  • The slogan for their movement was No to Suicide,Unite to Fight.
  • Their demands were-
  • Unconditional Loan waiver.(To prevent Farmers Suicide)
  • Implementation of Swaminathan commission.
  • Transfer of Forest land to Tribal Farmers, who have been tilling for years. It was named- Lok Sangharsh Aandolan.
  • Stringent implementation of Forest Rights Act(FRA).
  • Increase in various Pension schemes.
  • Compensation of losses sustained by peasants due to pest attack or hailstroms.

Peasants to emphasize on their demands; plotted a act. They participated in an open parliament outside the real parliament in Delhi to voice grievances. Two bills were proposed to tackle farmer debt and give women equal rights in the replicated parliament formed by peasants. The reason to depict this was; they want the real parliament to pass same bills in benefit of farmers.

Those laws were passed by leaders –

# By Hannan(Leader of AIKSCC)- Karj Mukti Bill,2017(Farmer Freedom from Debt Bill,2017)

# By Raju Shetty(Leader of Swabhimani Shetrakari Sanghthan)-The Farmers Right to Assured Prices for Agriculture Produce Bill,2017.

Important leaders in this movement-

  • Ashok Dhawale- He is president of AIKS. Also,he is medical dr.by training
  • Jiva Pander Gavit- He is a Adivasi     leader of great vision. He remained MLA of       CPI(M) for seven times.
  • Ajit Nawale- He is Maharashtra State Secretary of AIKS. Also, a Ayurveda dr.by training. He is grandson of Bhuva Nawale, who was elected as the first president of the Maharashtra unit of AIKS in its formation year(1945).
  • Kisan Gujar- He is known as ‘Silent Player’. A peasant himself, he is state President for AIKS. Earlier, he worked in Center of Indian Trade Union(CITU)
  1. After the Maharashtra march; Odisha got influenced and staged a rally near state assembly in Bhubneshwar with 15,000 farmers. Because they hold the same reason as those were holded by peasants of AIKSCC Maharashtra.

It was backed by Navniraman Krushak Sagathan(NKS).

National coordinator of NKS-Akshay Kumar.

{Demands were: (a)To allocate 21,600crore in state budget, (b)Also pension schemes for farmers, (c)5000 per month hike in MSP of paddy to 3000 per quintal instead of 1550 now.}

Chief minister of Odisha- Naveen Patnaik

Governor of Odisha- Ganeshi Lal

Chief minister of Maharashtra- Devendra Fadnavis

Governor of Maharashtra- C.Vidyasagar Rao

India being a democratic country gives every state it’s right to make laws related to land usage rights and their ownership. Some states give farmers 100% right of their land, while some just give few percentages.

Earlier, A Commission was launched by Ministry of Agriculture on 8th’January’1965 for Agriculture Costs and Prices, whose objective was to-

◆ Stabilize Agricultural prices.

◆ Meaningful real income levels for Farmers.

◆ Essential agricultural commodities at reasonable prices.