From the 'Farmers' bill to the 'Farmer's' protest: A layman's struggle

Since 26 November, farmers from Punjab have laid siege to the national capital Delhi. Farmers are protesting against the 3 farm bills that the Rajya Sabha passed in September. The Centre on other hand has tried reassuring the farmers that the government has no plans to end the procurement system nor the MSP policy. But fear and misconceptions still persist.

By Rohit Sindhu, Updated : Dec 30, 2020 10:47 IST
From the 'Farmers' bill to the 'Farmer's' protest: A layman's struggle
Farm bill to the 'Farmer's' protest- A layman's struggle- Representational Image

There are a few things which are becoming typical of any new 'controversial' bill (like CAB) to be introduced which is that there is a huge gap in the bill and the perception of bill and the efforts to bridge this gap comes late only after a stir is raised which is hugely polarized and generalizes the concerned bill to be a manifestation of Modi government's authoritarian regime.

Under-informed Citizens:

As a laymen in any know how about agriculture system in India, people as spectators have depended heavily on media about facts but have been served mostly with opinions. There is definitely a gap in our understanding of the agrarian crisis and need for reforms. Slowly and steadily we are coming to terms with the facts about the unrest, the agendas and the underlying political current. The past month has taught us much more about the agricultural trading and economy of India than our textbooks ever did.

We all have grown up grieving about the fact that the farmer never gets the just rate for its crop and major reforms are needed in this regard. We as informed citizens should not undermine the importance of the Farmers bill just because we don't have in-depth understanding of its nitty-gritty but should question and find answers before taking sides.

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Starting on a wrong foot:

There are a few points which are not related to the technicalities of the bill but about the way it was passed. There could have been a better inclusion ,outreaching and coordination amongst center and state governments and all differences to be ironed out at the earliest.

The ambiguities related to the bill should have been addressed to and the benefits of reforms should have been emphasized. The growing perception of the government being hand in glove with big business houses should be cleared by bringing greater transparency.

There is a dire need of communicating new policies in simplest and honest form to each stakeholder so that vested interest do not mould the facts to instigate people by muling out misinformation.

The shaky ground of unrest:

Farmers and soldiers are revered in India and being an agriculture based society the progress and reforms in agriculture should be assured to benefit the small farmer. The demand for legal cover to MSP can sound reasonable especially coming from Punjab and Haryana as these two states grow the staple crops which come under MSP umbrella but the complete rejection of the bill raises questions. The nexus of middlemen and its malpractices which have plagued the system for so long are surely threatened by the bill.

The way the whole movement took shape is bit unnerving given that communal sentiments are not kept at bay in making it a cause to fight for.

The difference between the government and the nation is again diminished when mobile towers are damaged in the name of protest. It no more remains apolitical when the Left is openly involved. The dilly dally of Congress is not new to this situation and the rationale of its contradictory stand on the bill in recent times makes its involvement obscures and almost obsolete.

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Need of the hour- Damage control

The fiasco created presents India in poor light where investment by multinationals is desirable but not operable. The farmer of this country deserves an open debate and rectification of the bill but not the total scrapping of the bill. The Modi government is a tough nut to crack and making this whole unrest as a showdown and who blinks first is not an advisable thing to do. The organized protester has not much to loose other than credibility but the situation turning adverse in case of law and order will only make things worse for the central government.

The government should break the ice and not allow the apprehensions of the farmers to be hijacked and masquerade as a wave of discontentment.

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