AIKS congratulates farmers on protests against anti-farmer ordinances issued by Centre

Protests held across the country saw farmers burning copies of the ordinances

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On the call of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), farmers across the country held a nation-wide protest against the anti-farmer ordinances brought out by the BJP government. Copies of the ordinances were burnt in at least one lakh places in the country.

AIKS had alleged that through the three ordinances – The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion & Facilitation) Ordinance 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment & Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance 2020 and the Ordinance to amend the Essential Commodities Act, were only to help the corporates gain profits and once these ordinances would be officially adopted, they would result in the abolishment of protective mechanisms like the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and enslavement and exploitation of farmers especially in backward areas, Patrika reported.


The ordinances

‘The Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020’ Ordinance is said to create an ecosystem where the farmers and traders will enjoy freedom of choice of sale and purchase of agri-produce. It promotes barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade and commerce outside the physical premises of markets notified under State Agricultural Produce Marketing legislations – essentially stating that additional competition outside APMC markets will help farmers get better prices for their produce, reported India Cooperative.

‘The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020’ seeks to empower farmers for engaging with processors, wholesalers, aggregators, wholesalers, large retailers, exporters etc., on a level playing field without any fear of exploitation. This Ordinance will act as a catalyst to attract private sector investment for building supply chains for supply of Indian farm produce to global markets, India Cooperative reports.

The amendment to the Essential Commodities Act allows commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes to be removed from the list of essential commodities.

Objections to the ordinances

Agricultural experts all over the country have said that the amendment to the ECA will allow private traders and corporates to store items without restrictions on quantity, paving the way for hoarding, The New Indian Express reported. PR Pandian, president of the committee of all farmers associations of Tamil Nadu told TNIE that while there was surplus production, traders and companies buy produce at low cost and sell later at high prices.

Talking about the The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020, K Venkatraman, general secretary, Tamil Desiya  Periyakkam told TNIE that most farmers in the country were small and marginal farmers and wouldn’t be able to hold their ground while bargaining with private companies.

Writing for the Orissa Post, Bhala Chandra Shadangi, an activist, said that the Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020 would give freedom to big corporates engaged in agro-business to procure farm produce at a cheap price.

Nationwide Protests

At one of such protests held in Jharkhand, slogans were raised to withdraw the farmer ordinances and waive farmer loans, reported Live Hindustan. In Tamil Nadu, the police arrested nearly fifty people protesting at Vellore and Ranipet, reported The Hindu. The protestors said that all the ordinances had been brought about without any consultation of farmers. In Punjab, farmers staged protests in Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Ferozpur, Moga, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Fazilka districts and submitted memorandum to the authorities addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding the revocation of the Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020 and withdrawal of the amendment to the Electricity Act.

In light of the country-wide protests, the AIKS issued a statement congratulating the peasantry and workers coming out in lakhs to burn the copies of the ordinances. In the statement, Ashok Dhawale, President, AIKS and Hannan Mollah, General Secretary, AIKS said that in Tamil Nadu, the protest was held at 96 centres and 2839 activists were arrested in Kerala, Bengal and Tripura as the anti-farmer ordinances and bills were burnt in front of the Central government offices as well as villages across the state. In Maharashtra, the statement said, despite the heavy rains, the copies of the ordinances were burnt in more than 100 centres. Participation was also witnessed in Rajasthan, Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh among other states.

The statement said, “The massive participation is a clear warning to Narendra Modi and the BJP that united struggles of workers and peasantry will build resolute resistance and defeat the conspiracies to corporatize agriculture and withdraw labour rights.”

The statement by AIKS may be read below



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