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Campaign against Agnipath scheme from Aug 7: Rakesh Tikait

Tikait also highlighted issues related to acquisition of land, power tariff and pending sugarcane dues among others

04 Aug 2022

TikaitImage: PTI /Arun Sharma

Noida: Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait on Wednesday said his farmers’ group would begin a campaign against the Centre’s new military recruitment scheme Agnipath from August 7.

Addressing a farmers’ congregation in the Tikri area of Baghpat district in western Uttar Pradesh, Tikait said the “fight with the central government and the Uttar Pradesh government” over the issue was yet to begin.

“The campaign against the Agnipath scheme will begin on August 7 and continue for over a week,” the BKU national spokesperson said, calling for support from the farming community.

He also alleged that old police cases against farmers were being dug up in order to intimidate them in the wake of major protests in recent years.

“When the BJP’s government was formed in Uttar Pradesh, the cases against BJP members were closed. So, either they should be prepared for cases or we are ready for a movement,” Tikait said.

“Those in Lucknow and Delhi should listen to this carefully. You can break political parties, you can dissociate leaders of farmers’ groups but cannot break the farmers. Farmers will protest against you (government),” he said.

Tikait also highlighted issues related to acquisition of land, power tariff and pending sugarcane dues among others as he addressed the crowd of hundreds of farmers.

Tikait rose to national prominence during the 2020-21 protests in Delhi against the now-repealed central farm laws.

Courtesy: The Daily Siasat

Campaign against Agnipath scheme from Aug 7: Rakesh Tikait

Tikait also highlighted issues related to acquisition of land, power tariff and pending sugarcane dues among others

TikaitImage: PTI /Arun Sharma

Noida: Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait on Wednesday said his farmers’ group would begin a campaign against the Centre’s new military recruitment scheme Agnipath from August 7.

Addressing a farmers’ congregation in the Tikri area of Baghpat district in western Uttar Pradesh, Tikait said the “fight with the central government and the Uttar Pradesh government” over the issue was yet to begin.

“The campaign against the Agnipath scheme will begin on August 7 and continue for over a week,” the BKU national spokesperson said, calling for support from the farming community.

He also alleged that old police cases against farmers were being dug up in order to intimidate them in the wake of major protests in recent years.

“When the BJP’s government was formed in Uttar Pradesh, the cases against BJP members were closed. So, either they should be prepared for cases or we are ready for a movement,” Tikait said.

“Those in Lucknow and Delhi should listen to this carefully. You can break political parties, you can dissociate leaders of farmers’ groups but cannot break the farmers. Farmers will protest against you (government),” he said.

Tikait also highlighted issues related to acquisition of land, power tariff and pending sugarcane dues among others as he addressed the crowd of hundreds of farmers.

Tikait rose to national prominence during the 2020-21 protests in Delhi against the now-repealed central farm laws.

Courtesy: The Daily Siasat

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Western UP: Farmers Angry Over Delay From Govt on Fulfilling Poll Promises

The farmers have accused the government of betraying them by not fulfilling the promises of providing free electricity.

03 Aug 2022

farmers protest
Representational Image
 

Lucknow: Anger is brewing among farmers across western Uttar Pradesh on multiple scores, including the issue of the state power corp's recent decision to meter the unmetered pumps used mainly for irrigation purposes in the rural belt and longstanding dispute of pending sugarcane dues. In Meerut and Shamli, farmers held a stir against the move and now Bijnor, too, faces a similar resistance.

The resentment has been simmering for several months but flared up on Tuesday as Bijnor farmers felt that the state government had not fulfilled its promises made during the 2022 Assembly elections. They alleged that since the government belongs to the BJP, there is no reason that the BJP-led NDA government cannot resolve it at the Centre.

The farmers have accused the government of betraying them by not fulfilling the promises of providing free electricity. The farmers have threatened to uproot the meters installed on the tube wells and fill them in the offices of the concerned officials.

According to the farmers, the state government had announced a 50% reduction in tariff just before the UP Assembly polls. As per its directions, a tariff of Rs 2/unit on metered pumps was to be reduced to Re 1/unit, and on the unmetered pumps, Rs 170/HP was to be reduced to Rs 85. Farmers claimed that the government didn't keep up its promise.

There were reports of protests in at least two different parts of the district, including Bijnor and Shamli, during the past 24 hours under the banner of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Arajnaitik). Farmers reached the collectorate in hundreds riding on tractors. During this, the barricading on the exhibition ground was also removed by the farmers. A minor scuffle took place between police and farmers.

The national president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Arajnaitik) Yuva Morcha Digambar Singh, who led the protests, warned that if these issues were not resolved, the BKU would start a jail-bharo agitation.

"The promises made by the state government to the farmers at the time of elections were not fulfilled even after five months. The state government put an additional burden of electricity on the farmers. The farmers in West UP are upset about this," Singh told NewsClick.

He further said, "Electricity bill is being taken from farmers according to Rs 35/HP in Haryana and Rs 185 in UP, whereas this is free in Punjab. We do not want electricity for free. But, a wrong decision will ruin farmers."

According to the statistics shared by Paschimanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd, which caters to 14 districts, there are over 4.40 lakh unmetered tube wells -- power connections which are to be metered. This exercise has triggered protests in parts of western UP.

Several farmers also aired their grievances to NewsClick and requested the state authorities to look into the matter immediately. They also raised the issue of pending cane dues and alleged most of the sugar mills have not made their payment in a time-bound manner.

Courtesy: Newsclick

 

Western UP: Farmers Angry Over Delay From Govt on Fulfilling Poll Promises

The farmers have accused the government of betraying them by not fulfilling the promises of providing free electricity.

farmers protest
Representational Image
 

Lucknow: Anger is brewing among farmers across western Uttar Pradesh on multiple scores, including the issue of the state power corp's recent decision to meter the unmetered pumps used mainly for irrigation purposes in the rural belt and longstanding dispute of pending sugarcane dues. In Meerut and Shamli, farmers held a stir against the move and now Bijnor, too, faces a similar resistance.

The resentment has been simmering for several months but flared up on Tuesday as Bijnor farmers felt that the state government had not fulfilled its promises made during the 2022 Assembly elections. They alleged that since the government belongs to the BJP, there is no reason that the BJP-led NDA government cannot resolve it at the Centre.

The farmers have accused the government of betraying them by not fulfilling the promises of providing free electricity. The farmers have threatened to uproot the meters installed on the tube wells and fill them in the offices of the concerned officials.

According to the farmers, the state government had announced a 50% reduction in tariff just before the UP Assembly polls. As per its directions, a tariff of Rs 2/unit on metered pumps was to be reduced to Re 1/unit, and on the unmetered pumps, Rs 170/HP was to be reduced to Rs 85. Farmers claimed that the government didn't keep up its promise.

There were reports of protests in at least two different parts of the district, including Bijnor and Shamli, during the past 24 hours under the banner of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Arajnaitik). Farmers reached the collectorate in hundreds riding on tractors. During this, the barricading on the exhibition ground was also removed by the farmers. A minor scuffle took place between police and farmers.

The national president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Arajnaitik) Yuva Morcha Digambar Singh, who led the protests, warned that if these issues were not resolved, the BKU would start a jail-bharo agitation.

"The promises made by the state government to the farmers at the time of elections were not fulfilled even after five months. The state government put an additional burden of electricity on the farmers. The farmers in West UP are upset about this," Singh told NewsClick.

He further said, "Electricity bill is being taken from farmers according to Rs 35/HP in Haryana and Rs 185 in UP, whereas this is free in Punjab. We do not want electricity for free. But, a wrong decision will ruin farmers."

According to the statistics shared by Paschimanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd, which caters to 14 districts, there are over 4.40 lakh unmetered tube wells -- power connections which are to be metered. This exercise has triggered protests in parts of western UP.

Several farmers also aired their grievances to NewsClick and requested the state authorities to look into the matter immediately. They also raised the issue of pending cane dues and alleged most of the sugar mills have not made their payment in a time-bound manner.

Courtesy: Newsclick

 

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SKM Chakka Jam: Flaying Centre’s ‘Betrayal’, Farmers Block Roads, Rail Tracks

The SKM warned that unless the promised demands of the farmers are not fulfilled, the farm movement will only “be intensified in the coming months”.

01 Aug 2022

SKM
Farmers block rail tracks at Punjab’s Jalandhar railway station. Image Courtesy: Kisan Ekta Morcha/Facebook 
 

New Delhi: Following a call by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) to observe ‘Protest Against Betrayal’, the two-week campaign ended, with farmers blocking roads and rail tracks for four hours in several states, on Sunday. 

Under the campaign, public meetings were organised in 500 districts across the country to demonstrate against the Centre for “reneging on the written promises,” on the basis of which the year-long agitation was withdrawn last year. The SKM warned that unless the promised demands of the farmers are not fulfilled, the farm movement will only “be intensified in the coming months.”

The farmers are demanding a legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP) for all produce based on the C2+50% formula, among others, added the umbrella group that had spearheaded the movement for the withdrawal of the three contentious farm legislations.

In a statement, the SKM said that “widespread protest demonstrations and Chakka Jam” were held on Sunday in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Tripura, among other states.

“Tens of thousands of farmers came together to protest against the betrayal by the Union Government,” the morcha added.

In Punjab, farmers squatted down on rail tracks from 11 am to 3 pm at over 40 locations across the state, along with staging road blockades at other protest spots, NewsClick was told. Across the country, according to farmer leaders, Sunday’s demonstration was staged at over 1200 different locations.

The SKM, in its statement, noted that the Narendra Modi-led central government has not fulfilled any of the promises made to the farmers’ organisation in its letter dated December 9, 2021.

“The government is still not ready to discuss the legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP). The Cabinet is reported to have approved the Electricity Amendment Bill for placing in Parliament. Nor have the false cases registered against the farmers been withdrawn. Ajay Mishra Teni remains in the Union Council of Ministers even today,” the morcha remarked.

It further reiterated its “six demands” which include, a legal guarantee of MSP, withdrawal of draft Electricity Amendment Bill, removal of the penal provisions on farmers over burning of crops, withdrawal of false cases against the farmers over the course of last year’s agitation, dismissal and arrest of Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra Teni, and compensation and rehabilitation of the families whose members died during the protests along with an allocation of land to build a memorial at Delhi’s Singhu border.

“Farmers in the country are very angry with the Union government for not fulfilling its promises even after nine months have passed,” SKM member and All India Kisan Sabha general secretary Hannan Mollah told NewsClick in a telephone interview on Sunday. He added that the SKM will continue to oppose the recently formed committee on MSP as its terms of reference do not mention one of the farmers’ organisation's key demands.

Earlier this month, the Centre had notified the formation of a 29-member panel to make MSP more “effective and transparent.” Along with naming a former agriculture secretary, NITI Aayog member, economists, and representatives of farmers’ unions in the country, to be members of the committee, the Centre had also invited three members from SKM.

Questioning the composition of the committee, the latter, however, had decided not to join the panel.

“What’s the point of joining such a panel, whose chairman is someone who drafted all the three farm laws? He is then accompanied by all those who supported such reforms,” Mollah argued, adding, “Even the terms of reference are very clear in the sense that it doesn’t mention legal guarantee on MSP, which is our key demand”.

All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) member Avik Saha on Sunday underscored that the farmers will continue with their agitation across the country. 

“Since July 18, public meetings were held at about 500 districts in the country to revive the memory of the last year’s farmer agitation and the result of the campaign was that today road blockades were staged at about 1200 locations across the country,” he said, highlighting that the next action programme of SKM will be organised in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri, where a 75-hour long “permanent morcha” will be set up from August 18. 

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Dakaunda general secretary Jagmohan Singh Patiala, while speaking from Patiala, said, “People came out on streets in large numbers from across Punjab to observe Chakka Jam including in Amritsar, Mansa, Ferozpur and Sangrur districts. It shows that the farmers’ movement has not dissipated as yet.”

“All the major trains arriving in Punjab from Delhi were affected on Sunday as farmers blocked railway tracks for four hours at over 40 locations,” Shingara Mann Singh, BKU Ekta Ugrahan leader, informed Newsclick while speaking from Bathinda.

In Haryana, AIKS leader Inderjit Singh said that even as roads were not blocked on large scale, due to Teej celebrations, public meetings were held at numerous sites on Sunday. 

He added that the farmers’ organisations, along with ex-servicemen committees and students’ organisations, will now hold ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ conventions across the country including in Haryana between August 7 and August 14 to expose the Agnipath scheme.

Courtesy: Newsclick

SKM Chakka Jam: Flaying Centre’s ‘Betrayal’, Farmers Block Roads, Rail Tracks

The SKM warned that unless the promised demands of the farmers are not fulfilled, the farm movement will only “be intensified in the coming months”.

SKM
Farmers block rail tracks at Punjab’s Jalandhar railway station. Image Courtesy: Kisan Ekta Morcha/Facebook 
 

New Delhi: Following a call by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) to observe ‘Protest Against Betrayal’, the two-week campaign ended, with farmers blocking roads and rail tracks for four hours in several states, on Sunday. 

Under the campaign, public meetings were organised in 500 districts across the country to demonstrate against the Centre for “reneging on the written promises,” on the basis of which the year-long agitation was withdrawn last year. The SKM warned that unless the promised demands of the farmers are not fulfilled, the farm movement will only “be intensified in the coming months.”

The farmers are demanding a legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP) for all produce based on the C2+50% formula, among others, added the umbrella group that had spearheaded the movement for the withdrawal of the three contentious farm legislations.

In a statement, the SKM said that “widespread protest demonstrations and Chakka Jam” were held on Sunday in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Tripura, among other states.

“Tens of thousands of farmers came together to protest against the betrayal by the Union Government,” the morcha added.

In Punjab, farmers squatted down on rail tracks from 11 am to 3 pm at over 40 locations across the state, along with staging road blockades at other protest spots, NewsClick was told. Across the country, according to farmer leaders, Sunday’s demonstration was staged at over 1200 different locations.

The SKM, in its statement, noted that the Narendra Modi-led central government has not fulfilled any of the promises made to the farmers’ organisation in its letter dated December 9, 2021.

“The government is still not ready to discuss the legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP). The Cabinet is reported to have approved the Electricity Amendment Bill for placing in Parliament. Nor have the false cases registered against the farmers been withdrawn. Ajay Mishra Teni remains in the Union Council of Ministers even today,” the morcha remarked.

It further reiterated its “six demands” which include, a legal guarantee of MSP, withdrawal of draft Electricity Amendment Bill, removal of the penal provisions on farmers over burning of crops, withdrawal of false cases against the farmers over the course of last year’s agitation, dismissal and arrest of Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra Teni, and compensation and rehabilitation of the families whose members died during the protests along with an allocation of land to build a memorial at Delhi’s Singhu border.

“Farmers in the country are very angry with the Union government for not fulfilling its promises even after nine months have passed,” SKM member and All India Kisan Sabha general secretary Hannan Mollah told NewsClick in a telephone interview on Sunday. He added that the SKM will continue to oppose the recently formed committee on MSP as its terms of reference do not mention one of the farmers’ organisation's key demands.

Earlier this month, the Centre had notified the formation of a 29-member panel to make MSP more “effective and transparent.” Along with naming a former agriculture secretary, NITI Aayog member, economists, and representatives of farmers’ unions in the country, to be members of the committee, the Centre had also invited three members from SKM.

Questioning the composition of the committee, the latter, however, had decided not to join the panel.

“What’s the point of joining such a panel, whose chairman is someone who drafted all the three farm laws? He is then accompanied by all those who supported such reforms,” Mollah argued, adding, “Even the terms of reference are very clear in the sense that it doesn’t mention legal guarantee on MSP, which is our key demand”.

All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) member Avik Saha on Sunday underscored that the farmers will continue with their agitation across the country. 

“Since July 18, public meetings were held at about 500 districts in the country to revive the memory of the last year’s farmer agitation and the result of the campaign was that today road blockades were staged at about 1200 locations across the country,” he said, highlighting that the next action programme of SKM will be organised in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri, where a 75-hour long “permanent morcha” will be set up from August 18. 

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Dakaunda general secretary Jagmohan Singh Patiala, while speaking from Patiala, said, “People came out on streets in large numbers from across Punjab to observe Chakka Jam including in Amritsar, Mansa, Ferozpur and Sangrur districts. It shows that the farmers’ movement has not dissipated as yet.”

“All the major trains arriving in Punjab from Delhi were affected on Sunday as farmers blocked railway tracks for four hours at over 40 locations,” Shingara Mann Singh, BKU Ekta Ugrahan leader, informed Newsclick while speaking from Bathinda.

In Haryana, AIKS leader Inderjit Singh said that even as roads were not blocked on large scale, due to Teej celebrations, public meetings were held at numerous sites on Sunday. 

He added that the farmers’ organisations, along with ex-servicemen committees and students’ organisations, will now hold ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ conventions across the country including in Haryana between August 7 and August 14 to expose the Agnipath scheme.

Courtesy: Newsclick

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More than 5,000 Indian farmers died by suicide every year in 2018, 2019 and 2020

Maharashtra tops the list with over 2,000 suicides every year

30 Jul 2022

Farmer Suicide
Image Courtesy: businesstoday.in

In a submission made before the Rajya Sabha recently, the Agriculture ministry has revealed that every year in 2018, 2019 and 2020 over 5,000 farmers died by suicide across India.

Narendra Singh Tomar, who is the Minister of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare submitted data from the National Crime records Bureau in response to a question raised by Raghav Chaddha. According to the data, as many as 5,570 farmers died by suicide in 28 states and eight union territories in 2020. Of these 2,567 were from Maharashtra alone. Karnataka came in second with 1,072 deaths by suicide.

In 2019, across India, 5,945 farmers died by suicide, out of which 2,680 were from Maharashtra and 1,331 from Karnataka. In 2018, as many as 5,747 people died by suicide, of which 2,239 were from Maharashtra and 1,365 from Karnataka.

States like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Punjab and Chhattisgarh also recorded hundreds of deaths every year during this three-year period.

In 2020, Andhra Pradesh saw 546 suicide deaths, while Telangana saw 466, Punjab 174 and Chhattisgarh 227. In 2019, Andhra Pradesh saw 628 suicide deaths, while Telangana saw 491, Punjab 239 and Chhattisgarh 233. In 2018, Andhra Pradesh saw 365 suicide deaths, while Telangana saw 900, Punjab 229 and Chhattisgarh 182.

No suicide deaths were reported from Haryana, Jharkhand, Goa, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, and the Union Territories of Chandigarh, Delhi, Lakshadweep and Puducherry.

In response to these deaths, the Centre has instituted a variety of relief measures, such as providing loans at lower rates of interest, sometimes free of any collateral. But none of these appear to have helped arrest this tragic trend where those who till the land, are forced to take such a drastic step.

Farmers and agricultural labourers face economic distress on account of various reasons, including but not limited to – crop failure due to natural calamities such as droughts and floods, and subsequent lack of proper compensation, high cost of fertilisers, mounting interest on debts, etc. Moreover, many farmers groups argue that in the absence of Minimum Support Price (MSP) being calculated based on the C2+50 formula that was recommended by the Swaminathan Commission, the inadequate compensation for crops often makes farming as a whole an economically un-viable activity.

The entire answer may be read here:

Related:

Government still not inclined to give legal guarantee for MSP?
Farmers demand answers: What happened to written promises?
Farmers reject Centre’s committed MSP prices

More than 5,000 Indian farmers died by suicide every year in 2018, 2019 and 2020

Maharashtra tops the list with over 2,000 suicides every year

Farmer Suicide
Image Courtesy: businesstoday.in

In a submission made before the Rajya Sabha recently, the Agriculture ministry has revealed that every year in 2018, 2019 and 2020 over 5,000 farmers died by suicide across India.

Narendra Singh Tomar, who is the Minister of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare submitted data from the National Crime records Bureau in response to a question raised by Raghav Chaddha. According to the data, as many as 5,570 farmers died by suicide in 28 states and eight union territories in 2020. Of these 2,567 were from Maharashtra alone. Karnataka came in second with 1,072 deaths by suicide.

In 2019, across India, 5,945 farmers died by suicide, out of which 2,680 were from Maharashtra and 1,331 from Karnataka. In 2018, as many as 5,747 people died by suicide, of which 2,239 were from Maharashtra and 1,365 from Karnataka.

States like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Punjab and Chhattisgarh also recorded hundreds of deaths every year during this three-year period.

In 2020, Andhra Pradesh saw 546 suicide deaths, while Telangana saw 466, Punjab 174 and Chhattisgarh 227. In 2019, Andhra Pradesh saw 628 suicide deaths, while Telangana saw 491, Punjab 239 and Chhattisgarh 233. In 2018, Andhra Pradesh saw 365 suicide deaths, while Telangana saw 900, Punjab 229 and Chhattisgarh 182.

No suicide deaths were reported from Haryana, Jharkhand, Goa, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, and the Union Territories of Chandigarh, Delhi, Lakshadweep and Puducherry.

In response to these deaths, the Centre has instituted a variety of relief measures, such as providing loans at lower rates of interest, sometimes free of any collateral. But none of these appear to have helped arrest this tragic trend where those who till the land, are forced to take such a drastic step.

Farmers and agricultural labourers face economic distress on account of various reasons, including but not limited to – crop failure due to natural calamities such as droughts and floods, and subsequent lack of proper compensation, high cost of fertilisers, mounting interest on debts, etc. Moreover, many farmers groups argue that in the absence of Minimum Support Price (MSP) being calculated based on the C2+50 formula that was recommended by the Swaminathan Commission, the inadequate compensation for crops often makes farming as a whole an economically un-viable activity.

The entire answer may be read here:

Related:

Government still not inclined to give legal guarantee for MSP?
Farmers demand answers: What happened to written promises?
Farmers reject Centre’s committed MSP prices

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Why the Struggle of Dhinkia Deserves Wide Support

30 Jul 2022

Dhinkia has become a war-zone

The struggle of the people of Dhinkia and nearby villagers ( in Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha) to save the local green rural economy based on dhana – mina – pana (paddy, fish and vines of betel leaves , apart from cashew nuts) from the onslaught of highly polluting big industries has acquired a new relevance and resonance in the middle of the acute environmental crisis of the 21st century which needs to be better understood and appreciated.

This is not to say that such struggles to protect the established sustainable livelihoods of rural communities were not relevant earlier. They were relevant then also as people have a strong democratic right to protect their livelihood. However in the ensuing debates often the side of the industrial onslaught could emerge stronger because the prevailing development paradigm favored it so much.

This is no more the case. In the 21st century, quite apart from the immediately experienced serious health hazards of pollution, it is increasingly realized that increased GHG emissions can endanger the essential life-nurturing conditions of our planet. Hence the need for protecting the green rural economy which communities have created and nurtured over the years is much stronger than before.

In the wake of this life-threatening crisis, for all those who care to see the emerging reality, the development paradigm has shifted much more in favor of protecting the green rural economy from any industrial onslaught. In the context of Dhinkia and nearby areas, if we compare the prevailing green economy with the industrial project onslaught which threatens to uproot it, in terms of pollution and GHG emissions what will emerge after what in official jargon is called ‘development’ will be highly polluting aggravation of climate disaster from which, incidentally, coastal areas are most threatened. If we look from the point of view of sustainable livelihoods of local people, again the present situation is much, much better. If we look from the point of biodiversity and the health and survival of all other species, again the present situation is much better. So why not shift the big industrial projects—steel or cement or power or others, if these are really as urgent as claimed–to those areas where displacement of green economy and greenery is not involved? Why destroy so much that is increasingly more valuable?

The people of this and several nearby villages have been involved in struggles to protect their dhana-mina-pana green economy for nearly 17 years. First they struggled against a multinational company POSCO. After several years of struggle which involved many protests, imprisonments, injuries, sacrifices, people succeeded in driving away the multinational company. However their relief was short-lived, as instead of returning all their land the government welcomed a local industrial giant for an even bigger integrated project, acquiring even more land for this, unleashing a new wave of repression and arrests, including the imprisonment of prominent leader of the people’s movement Debendra Swain.

In the course of the long history of repressions, several exhausted people in nearby villages have adjusted to accepting the new project, not out of happiness but because they have already suffered too much. At the same time, significant numbers of people are still carrying out the struggle courageously, despite the beatings, despite the arrests, despite the threats and the efforts to divide them.

This great resilience shown by the people for nearly 17 years in a peaceful democratic movement to save their green rural economy, community life and sustainable livelihoods is a big achievement, which all democratic forces should appreciate and support.  We must remember that these rural households are mostly from relatively weaker section, and consider how difficult it must have been to sustain their long drawn out struggles in the midst of waves of repressions, imprisonments, implicating them in false cases, imposition of blockades and restrictions.

At a time when there is a worldwide search of green alternatives and increasing support for sustainable livelihoods based on this, their determination in the face of grim odds to protect such systems deserves appreciation and awards, not repression and imprisonments.

Generally the Odisha government in India is looked upon as a saner and more rational regime compared to several others in the country, with a relatively better record of stability and governance, with some of its welfare schemes and disaster protection works attracting much favorable notice. So its continuing repressive attitudes towards the Dhinkia struggle is a case of reason wounded, rationality ignored. Its continuing repressive and hostile actions appear to be driven more by vendetta and irrational hostility towards its own people.

The heartbeat of a genuinely democratic government should be close to the heartbeat of its people. The Odisha government must urgently change its policy of hostility and repression towards the Dhinkia movement, a movement which deserves the support of democratic forces as well as those committed to environment protection based on sustainable livelihoods of rural communities.

Bharat Dogra is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include Planet in Peril, Protecting Earth for Children and Man Over Machine—A Path to Peace.

This article was first published on https://countercurrents.org

Why the Struggle of Dhinkia Deserves Wide Support

Dhinkia has become a war-zone

The struggle of the people of Dhinkia and nearby villagers ( in Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha) to save the local green rural economy based on dhana – mina – pana (paddy, fish and vines of betel leaves , apart from cashew nuts) from the onslaught of highly polluting big industries has acquired a new relevance and resonance in the middle of the acute environmental crisis of the 21st century which needs to be better understood and appreciated.

This is not to say that such struggles to protect the established sustainable livelihoods of rural communities were not relevant earlier. They were relevant then also as people have a strong democratic right to protect their livelihood. However in the ensuing debates often the side of the industrial onslaught could emerge stronger because the prevailing development paradigm favored it so much.

This is no more the case. In the 21st century, quite apart from the immediately experienced serious health hazards of pollution, it is increasingly realized that increased GHG emissions can endanger the essential life-nurturing conditions of our planet. Hence the need for protecting the green rural economy which communities have created and nurtured over the years is much stronger than before.

In the wake of this life-threatening crisis, for all those who care to see the emerging reality, the development paradigm has shifted much more in favor of protecting the green rural economy from any industrial onslaught. In the context of Dhinkia and nearby areas, if we compare the prevailing green economy with the industrial project onslaught which threatens to uproot it, in terms of pollution and GHG emissions what will emerge after what in official jargon is called ‘development’ will be highly polluting aggravation of climate disaster from which, incidentally, coastal areas are most threatened. If we look from the point of view of sustainable livelihoods of local people, again the present situation is much, much better. If we look from the point of biodiversity and the health and survival of all other species, again the present situation is much better. So why not shift the big industrial projects—steel or cement or power or others, if these are really as urgent as claimed–to those areas where displacement of green economy and greenery is not involved? Why destroy so much that is increasingly more valuable?

The people of this and several nearby villages have been involved in struggles to protect their dhana-mina-pana green economy for nearly 17 years. First they struggled against a multinational company POSCO. After several years of struggle which involved many protests, imprisonments, injuries, sacrifices, people succeeded in driving away the multinational company. However their relief was short-lived, as instead of returning all their land the government welcomed a local industrial giant for an even bigger integrated project, acquiring even more land for this, unleashing a new wave of repression and arrests, including the imprisonment of prominent leader of the people’s movement Debendra Swain.

In the course of the long history of repressions, several exhausted people in nearby villages have adjusted to accepting the new project, not out of happiness but because they have already suffered too much. At the same time, significant numbers of people are still carrying out the struggle courageously, despite the beatings, despite the arrests, despite the threats and the efforts to divide them.

This great resilience shown by the people for nearly 17 years in a peaceful democratic movement to save their green rural economy, community life and sustainable livelihoods is a big achievement, which all democratic forces should appreciate and support.  We must remember that these rural households are mostly from relatively weaker section, and consider how difficult it must have been to sustain their long drawn out struggles in the midst of waves of repressions, imprisonments, implicating them in false cases, imposition of blockades and restrictions.

At a time when there is a worldwide search of green alternatives and increasing support for sustainable livelihoods based on this, their determination in the face of grim odds to protect such systems deserves appreciation and awards, not repression and imprisonments.

Generally the Odisha government in India is looked upon as a saner and more rational regime compared to several others in the country, with a relatively better record of stability and governance, with some of its welfare schemes and disaster protection works attracting much favorable notice. So its continuing repressive attitudes towards the Dhinkia struggle is a case of reason wounded, rationality ignored. Its continuing repressive and hostile actions appear to be driven more by vendetta and irrational hostility towards its own people.

The heartbeat of a genuinely democratic government should be close to the heartbeat of its people. The Odisha government must urgently change its policy of hostility and repression towards the Dhinkia movement, a movement which deserves the support of democratic forces as well as those committed to environment protection based on sustainable livelihoods of rural communities.

Bharat Dogra is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include Planet in Peril, Protecting Earth for Children and Man Over Machine—A Path to Peace.

This article was first published on https://countercurrents.org

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Delhi: Farmers Protest Hike in GST on Dairy Products and Machinery

The AIKS has strongly condemned the imposition of 5% GST on dairy products and 12-18% on machinery, alleging it will favour corporate houses.

29 Jul 2022

farmers march

New Delhi: Dairy farmers across the country staged a protest at Jantar Mantar near Parliament on Wednesday against imposition of GST (goods and services tax) on dairy products, machinery and machines related to milk products.

sansad march

The protest was called by the Dairy Farmers Federation of India (DFFI), affiliated to the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS).

During the protest, DFFI called upon all farmer organisations in the country and joint platforms, including the Samyukt Kisan Morcha  to join their protest to ensure that the anti-farmer decision of the government was revoked through struggles.

The decision to hike GST was taken in the recently held 47th meeting of the GST Council. The hike comes into effect from Monday, July 18.

The protesting farmers said prices of several everyday essentials will further increase, digging a deeper hole not only in household budgets but even in farmer incomes.

protest

Already, the hike in GST has spiked prices of curd, lassi, rice, wheat among various essentials.

Reports suggest that the huge increase in the prices of cattle feed in many states has added to the troubles of dairy farmers.

Terming Wednesday’s protest as ‘symbolic’, Bharat Singh, a dairy farmer from Uttar Pradesh, said: “This is a warning to the government to withdraw its anti-farmer and anti-people decision, otherwise we will agitate as before (referring to the year-long farmers movement)."

Singh said milk and its products are an important source of income for farmers in the area in UP in hails from. Hence, after imposition of GST by the government, their production costs will rise as will the market prices of their products. As a result, people will buy less which, in turn, will hit farmers from both sides, as a farmer is a producer as well as a consumer.

AIKS leaders alleged the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre was not only attacking the concept of cooperative federalism enshrined in the Constitution but was also using GST as a weapon for this.

“With the increase in GST rates, cooperatives working in this sector and small firms engaged in value addition will be ruined as they will not be able to compete with big corporate houses due to the increase in expenditure and working capital. It will also destroy the rights of the states and their financial autonomy. This is a disgusting example of centralisation of political power and capital," said AIKS.

AIKS national president Ashok Dhawale said: “The livestock sector contributes about 25% to the value of agricultural output and the production of milk and is a major source of income for nine crore families. It is directly related to domestic food security and GST on dairy products will work to eliminate it."

Dimple Yadav, a woman farmer leader from Haryana, said: "Haryana is recognised by its milk and curd. The milk producing farmers of the state are already in trouble due to heavy rain,” adding that farmers were also facing a fodder problem due to waterlogging in the fields.

“There has been a huge increase in the prices of fodder, which has increased the production costs of farmers. Now this new GST is like rubbing salt on our wounds,” she said.

She said instead of helping farmers, the BJP government was troubling them more and cited the ban on transportation of green fodder from one district to another in Haryana.

Narrating the endless woes of farmers, she said: "in the last few years, animal husbandry has become very expensive. The government has also banned cattle fairs in which farmers used to earn money by selling their old and unused animals. As a result, the number of stray animals in villages has increased significantly.”

Anita, another woman farmer from Haryana, said: “Animal husbandry is a source of income for women and farmers in villages. It plays an important role in making women financially strong in rural areas. But such anti-farmer decisions will lead to the collapse of the economy."

It may be recalled that India is the largest milk producer in the world. Krishnaprasad, a DFFI leader and financial secretary of AIKS, said more than nine crore families are associated with the dairy sector in the country, out of which three-fourths of rural households have only 2-4 cows.

Increasing GST on dairy products and machinery will adversely affect the livelihood of these farmers as well as their nutritional status, the AIKS leader said, adding that this would negatively affect the nutritional needs of the people belonging to the economically weaker and oppressed sections.

Krishnaprasad said the cost of producing milk was increasing continuously. Therefore, dairy farmers are demanding that to reduce the cost, 200 days salary should be paid by the Central government to farmers who rear two cows under MGNREGA, the rural job guarantee scheme.

He cited the example of Left-ruled Kerala government that is making payments to farmers engaged in animal husbandry in urban areas under one such scheme. Due to the scheme, the production cost of farmers had declined, he said, adding that if the Left Front of Kerala can do this, the Narendra Modi government at the Centre can also do the same.

Courtesy: Newsclick

Delhi: Farmers Protest Hike in GST on Dairy Products and Machinery

The AIKS has strongly condemned the imposition of 5% GST on dairy products and 12-18% on machinery, alleging it will favour corporate houses.

farmers march

New Delhi: Dairy farmers across the country staged a protest at Jantar Mantar near Parliament on Wednesday against imposition of GST (goods and services tax) on dairy products, machinery and machines related to milk products.

sansad march

The protest was called by the Dairy Farmers Federation of India (DFFI), affiliated to the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS).

During the protest, DFFI called upon all farmer organisations in the country and joint platforms, including the Samyukt Kisan Morcha  to join their protest to ensure that the anti-farmer decision of the government was revoked through struggles.

The decision to hike GST was taken in the recently held 47th meeting of the GST Council. The hike comes into effect from Monday, July 18.

The protesting farmers said prices of several everyday essentials will further increase, digging a deeper hole not only in household budgets but even in farmer incomes.

protest

Already, the hike in GST has spiked prices of curd, lassi, rice, wheat among various essentials.

Reports suggest that the huge increase in the prices of cattle feed in many states has added to the troubles of dairy farmers.

Terming Wednesday’s protest as ‘symbolic’, Bharat Singh, a dairy farmer from Uttar Pradesh, said: “This is a warning to the government to withdraw its anti-farmer and anti-people decision, otherwise we will agitate as before (referring to the year-long farmers movement)."

Singh said milk and its products are an important source of income for farmers in the area in UP in hails from. Hence, after imposition of GST by the government, their production costs will rise as will the market prices of their products. As a result, people will buy less which, in turn, will hit farmers from both sides, as a farmer is a producer as well as a consumer.

AIKS leaders alleged the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre was not only attacking the concept of cooperative federalism enshrined in the Constitution but was also using GST as a weapon for this.

“With the increase in GST rates, cooperatives working in this sector and small firms engaged in value addition will be ruined as they will not be able to compete with big corporate houses due to the increase in expenditure and working capital. It will also destroy the rights of the states and their financial autonomy. This is a disgusting example of centralisation of political power and capital," said AIKS.

AIKS national president Ashok Dhawale said: “The livestock sector contributes about 25% to the value of agricultural output and the production of milk and is a major source of income for nine crore families. It is directly related to domestic food security and GST on dairy products will work to eliminate it."

Dimple Yadav, a woman farmer leader from Haryana, said: "Haryana is recognised by its milk and curd. The milk producing farmers of the state are already in trouble due to heavy rain,” adding that farmers were also facing a fodder problem due to waterlogging in the fields.

“There has been a huge increase in the prices of fodder, which has increased the production costs of farmers. Now this new GST is like rubbing salt on our wounds,” she said.

She said instead of helping farmers, the BJP government was troubling them more and cited the ban on transportation of green fodder from one district to another in Haryana.

Narrating the endless woes of farmers, she said: "in the last few years, animal husbandry has become very expensive. The government has also banned cattle fairs in which farmers used to earn money by selling their old and unused animals. As a result, the number of stray animals in villages has increased significantly.”

Anita, another woman farmer from Haryana, said: “Animal husbandry is a source of income for women and farmers in villages. It plays an important role in making women financially strong in rural areas. But such anti-farmer decisions will lead to the collapse of the economy."

It may be recalled that India is the largest milk producer in the world. Krishnaprasad, a DFFI leader and financial secretary of AIKS, said more than nine crore families are associated with the dairy sector in the country, out of which three-fourths of rural households have only 2-4 cows.

Increasing GST on dairy products and machinery will adversely affect the livelihood of these farmers as well as their nutritional status, the AIKS leader said, adding that this would negatively affect the nutritional needs of the people belonging to the economically weaker and oppressed sections.

Krishnaprasad said the cost of producing milk was increasing continuously. Therefore, dairy farmers are demanding that to reduce the cost, 200 days salary should be paid by the Central government to farmers who rear two cows under MGNREGA, the rural job guarantee scheme.

He cited the example of Left-ruled Kerala government that is making payments to farmers engaged in animal husbandry in urban areas under one such scheme. Due to the scheme, the production cost of farmers had declined, he said, adding that if the Left Front of Kerala can do this, the Narendra Modi government at the Centre can also do the same.

Courtesy: Newsclick

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New Forest Conservation Rules: A fresh controversy

History of institutionalisation of the environmental discourse in India

27 Jul 2022

 Forest Conservation Rules
Representation Image

In India, the environment as an issue emerged between the 1970s and 1980s (Guha 2016). It came in notice after the United Nations conference on the Environment, Stockholm in 1972, in which the participant countries adopted 26 principles as a Stockholm declaration; it gave space to initiate a dialogue between developed and developing countries (United Nations 1973).

Subsequently, in India, it laid out the formation of the national council for environmental policy and planning within the department of science and technology in 1972[1]. At an international level, environmental and climate issues have grown in a more sprucely manner. The two international conferences— one at Stockholm in 1972 on the environment and second at Rio de Janeiro in 1992 on development— have significantly influenced the environmental policies of several countries, including India (Sankar 2016).

In order to extend the Union government’s control over forests[2], the forest as a subject was moved to the concurrent list after the 42nd Amendment to the Indian Constitution of 1976[3]. After that environmental concern was included in the Directive Principle of State policy and Fundamental Rights and Duties: The State shall venture to protect and improve the environment and secure the forests, flora, and fauna of the country[4]. It was indeed a remarkable amendment in India's environmental legislative history, but it was enacted in times of emergency when the democratic norms were challenged and the constitutional institutions emasculated. Later in 1985, the national council was transformed into an apex union administrative, a regulatory body to ensure environmental protection and regulation, aka Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). It was further renamed Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in 2014.

India’s forest cover

According to the State of the World's Forests (SOFO) report, released May 2, 2022, the world has lost approximately 10.34 per cent of total forest area in the last 30 years due to deforestation or degradation of forests — which is an estimated 420 million hectares[5]. The Global Forest Resources Assessment Remote Sensing Survey (FRA 2020 RSS), published May 3, 2022, by the United Nations, claims the loss of tropical forests the size of Europe in the last two decades[6]. On the contrary, India's forests and tree cover have risen by 2,261 square kilometers (sq km), according to India's State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021[7].

Environmentalists and conservationists have shown resentment against the Forest Survey of India (FSI) for identifying plantations and tea gardens as forests, which is an ambiguous claim[8], as it is contributing factor in the growth of forest cover in India. Five states of India – Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Karnataka, and Jharkhand – have a more significant contribution in forest cover of 1,540 sq. km. However, this increase in forest covers heavily relies on plantation and agroforestry. A recent report published by the Forest Survey of India (FSI) argues that India's mountainous states, including the Himalayan region, have increased forest loss due to climate change[9]. Thus, climate change, deforestation, and forest degradation have emerged as common denominator of cause for forest loss globally and locally.

Arbitrary changes in environmental laws

On one side, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC) has produced controversial and ambiguous forest survey reports to deceive the actual situation of forest cover in India. Simultaneously, it changed some environmental laws during the pandemic, such as the Environment Impact Assessment notification, 2006 and the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 (69 of 1980), during the most vulnerable times of human history. It shows in public eyes that apex environment regulatory body does not have an ounce of empathy for millions of forest dwellers’ well-being, as it can make them more vulnerable amidst pandemic, as it will directly influence their livelihood and forest rights.

Last year, on March 12, 2020, the MoEFCC published a new draft of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) notification 2020 (Kapoor and Dinesh 2021). It has created a lot of buzz among civil society organisations, conservationists, environmentalists, and forest dwellers. It has reduced the period allotted for public hearings and has suggested extra time to submit a compliance report, and the project can be regularized through post-facto clearance. However, the new changes in EIA have further ignited the debate between environment and development, as the current government continues shouting in favour of easing the norms and has rendered 'Ease of doing Business' (Jamir 2021).

As per new regulations of the Forest (Conservation) Rules 2022, the central government may allow the forest clearance without prior informing the inhabitants, which will directly impact the tribals' forest rights, their livelihood, and the ecology of forests[10]. These rules may exert unnecessary pressure on state governments to secure consent on behalf of union

Conclusion

The arbitrary changes in Forest Conservation rules 2003 create a direct challenge to the federal governance structure of country, as new regulations give the upper hand to the union government and the responsibility of forest clearance to state governments. That is against the ethos of federalism, as it puts tremendous pressure on the state governments to take consent from tribal and forest dwellers in case of forest land transfer. New FCA regulations do not mention the prior consent of Gram Sabha, and if Gram Sabha is approached after the final approval from the Union government, it will be irrelevant, and forest clearance will be fait accompli, Ministry of Tribal Affairs had argued[11]. It is explicit that MoEFCC has override the previous tribal-centric regulations, which implicitly projects that MoEFCC – a apex environmental body in country –holds no accountability against guardians of forests.

*Views expressed are the author’s own. The author is a P.hD scholar at ADCPS, IIT Bombay


References:

Guha, Ramchadra (2016): “Environmentalism: A Global History”, New Delhi: Penguin.

Sankar, U (2016): “Laws and Institutions Relating to Environmental Protection in India,” https://www.mse.ac.in/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/op_sankar.pdf, viewed on 4 August 2021.

United Nations (1973): “Report of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, Stockholm, 5-16 June 1972,” https://undocs.org/en/A/CONF.48/14/Rev.1, viewed on 3 August 2021.

 


[3] https://www.fao.org/3/am251e/am251e00.pdf   visited on 21 July, 2022.

 

New Forest Conservation Rules: A fresh controversy

History of institutionalisation of the environmental discourse in India

 Forest Conservation Rules
Representation Image

In India, the environment as an issue emerged between the 1970s and 1980s (Guha 2016). It came in notice after the United Nations conference on the Environment, Stockholm in 1972, in which the participant countries adopted 26 principles as a Stockholm declaration; it gave space to initiate a dialogue between developed and developing countries (United Nations 1973).

Subsequently, in India, it laid out the formation of the national council for environmental policy and planning within the department of science and technology in 1972[1]. At an international level, environmental and climate issues have grown in a more sprucely manner. The two international conferences— one at Stockholm in 1972 on the environment and second at Rio de Janeiro in 1992 on development— have significantly influenced the environmental policies of several countries, including India (Sankar 2016).

In order to extend the Union government’s control over forests[2], the forest as a subject was moved to the concurrent list after the 42nd Amendment to the Indian Constitution of 1976[3]. After that environmental concern was included in the Directive Principle of State policy and Fundamental Rights and Duties: The State shall venture to protect and improve the environment and secure the forests, flora, and fauna of the country[4]. It was indeed a remarkable amendment in India's environmental legislative history, but it was enacted in times of emergency when the democratic norms were challenged and the constitutional institutions emasculated. Later in 1985, the national council was transformed into an apex union administrative, a regulatory body to ensure environmental protection and regulation, aka Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). It was further renamed Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in 2014.

India’s forest cover

According to the State of the World's Forests (SOFO) report, released May 2, 2022, the world has lost approximately 10.34 per cent of total forest area in the last 30 years due to deforestation or degradation of forests — which is an estimated 420 million hectares[5]. The Global Forest Resources Assessment Remote Sensing Survey (FRA 2020 RSS), published May 3, 2022, by the United Nations, claims the loss of tropical forests the size of Europe in the last two decades[6]. On the contrary, India's forests and tree cover have risen by 2,261 square kilometers (sq km), according to India's State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021[7].

Environmentalists and conservationists have shown resentment against the Forest Survey of India (FSI) for identifying plantations and tea gardens as forests, which is an ambiguous claim[8], as it is contributing factor in the growth of forest cover in India. Five states of India – Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Karnataka, and Jharkhand – have a more significant contribution in forest cover of 1,540 sq. km. However, this increase in forest covers heavily relies on plantation and agroforestry. A recent report published by the Forest Survey of India (FSI) argues that India's mountainous states, including the Himalayan region, have increased forest loss due to climate change[9]. Thus, climate change, deforestation, and forest degradation have emerged as common denominator of cause for forest loss globally and locally.

Arbitrary changes in environmental laws

On one side, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC) has produced controversial and ambiguous forest survey reports to deceive the actual situation of forest cover in India. Simultaneously, it changed some environmental laws during the pandemic, such as the Environment Impact Assessment notification, 2006 and the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 (69 of 1980), during the most vulnerable times of human history. It shows in public eyes that apex environment regulatory body does not have an ounce of empathy for millions of forest dwellers’ well-being, as it can make them more vulnerable amidst pandemic, as it will directly influence their livelihood and forest rights.

Last year, on March 12, 2020, the MoEFCC published a new draft of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) notification 2020 (Kapoor and Dinesh 2021). It has created a lot of buzz among civil society organisations, conservationists, environmentalists, and forest dwellers. It has reduced the period allotted for public hearings and has suggested extra time to submit a compliance report, and the project can be regularized through post-facto clearance. However, the new changes in EIA have further ignited the debate between environment and development, as the current government continues shouting in favour of easing the norms and has rendered 'Ease of doing Business' (Jamir 2021).

As per new regulations of the Forest (Conservation) Rules 2022, the central government may allow the forest clearance without prior informing the inhabitants, which will directly impact the tribals' forest rights, their livelihood, and the ecology of forests[10]. These rules may exert unnecessary pressure on state governments to secure consent on behalf of union

Conclusion

The arbitrary changes in Forest Conservation rules 2003 create a direct challenge to the federal governance structure of country, as new regulations give the upper hand to the union government and the responsibility of forest clearance to state governments. That is against the ethos of federalism, as it puts tremendous pressure on the state governments to take consent from tribal and forest dwellers in case of forest land transfer. New FCA regulations do not mention the prior consent of Gram Sabha, and if Gram Sabha is approached after the final approval from the Union government, it will be irrelevant, and forest clearance will be fait accompli, Ministry of Tribal Affairs had argued[11]. It is explicit that MoEFCC has override the previous tribal-centric regulations, which implicitly projects that MoEFCC – a apex environmental body in country –holds no accountability against guardians of forests.

*Views expressed are the author’s own. The author is a P.hD scholar at ADCPS, IIT Bombay


References:

Guha, Ramchadra (2016): “Environmentalism: A Global History”, New Delhi: Penguin.

Sankar, U (2016): “Laws and Institutions Relating to Environmental Protection in India,” https://www.mse.ac.in/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/op_sankar.pdf, viewed on 4 August 2021.

United Nations (1973): “Report of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, Stockholm, 5-16 June 1972,” https://undocs.org/en/A/CONF.48/14/Rev.1, viewed on 3 August 2021.

 


[3] https://www.fao.org/3/am251e/am251e00.pdf   visited on 21 July, 2022.

 

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Allahabad High Court denies bail to Ashish Mishra in the Lakhimpur Kheri Violence case

Court says he is politically influential who could influence witnesses and affect the trial

26 Jul 2022

Ashish Mishra

On July 26, 2022, the Allahabad High Court rejected the bail plea of Ashish Mishra, son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra, in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri Violence case wherein he is the prime accused for the death of four famers, reported LiveLaw.

After reserving the judgment on July 15, the Lucknow bench of Justice Krishna Pahal reportedly stated that if Mishra is granted bail there are chances that he may influence the witnesses which may affect the trial.

The Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court had granted bail to Ashish on February 10, 2022.

But, later the Supreme Court cancelled the bail and directed the high court to decide his bail plea after affording adequate opportunity to the victim side.

Accordingly, the high court heard his bail plea afresh.

Meanwhile on May 9, the court rejected the bail pleas of co-accused Lavkush, Ankit Das, Sumit Jaiswal and Shishupal.

While rejecting their pleas, the high court had observed that the four accused were actively involved in planning and participation of the heinous offence committed in a “cruel and inhuman manner” and as such did not deserve bail.

The bench had further observed, “These four accused and the main accused, Ashish Mishra alias Monu belonged to very influential political families as said and apprehension of the prosecution that they would interfere with the course of justice, tamper with the evidence and influence the witnesses, cannot be ruled out at this stage.”

Ashish Mishra is a co-accused in connection with the killing of four farmers and a journalist at Tikunia in Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh on October 3 last year.

The farmers and the journalist were mowed down by a speeding vehicle. In the ensuing violence, two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers and the driver of a vehicle were also killed by an agitated mob.Two FIRs were lodged in connection with the violence.

Related:

Lakhimpur Kheri case: HC to deliver verdict on Ashish Mishra’s bail plea

Lakhimpur Kheri case: Third witness attacked, survives firing by goons

Farmers demand answers: What happened to written promises?

Allahabad High Court denies bail to Ashish Mishra in the Lakhimpur Kheri Violence case

Court says he is politically influential who could influence witnesses and affect the trial

Ashish Mishra

On July 26, 2022, the Allahabad High Court rejected the bail plea of Ashish Mishra, son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra, in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri Violence case wherein he is the prime accused for the death of four famers, reported LiveLaw.

After reserving the judgment on July 15, the Lucknow bench of Justice Krishna Pahal reportedly stated that if Mishra is granted bail there are chances that he may influence the witnesses which may affect the trial.

The Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court had granted bail to Ashish on February 10, 2022.

But, later the Supreme Court cancelled the bail and directed the high court to decide his bail plea after affording adequate opportunity to the victim side.

Accordingly, the high court heard his bail plea afresh.

Meanwhile on May 9, the court rejected the bail pleas of co-accused Lavkush, Ankit Das, Sumit Jaiswal and Shishupal.

While rejecting their pleas, the high court had observed that the four accused were actively involved in planning and participation of the heinous offence committed in a “cruel and inhuman manner” and as such did not deserve bail.

The bench had further observed, “These four accused and the main accused, Ashish Mishra alias Monu belonged to very influential political families as said and apprehension of the prosecution that they would interfere with the course of justice, tamper with the evidence and influence the witnesses, cannot be ruled out at this stage.”

Ashish Mishra is a co-accused in connection with the killing of four farmers and a journalist at Tikunia in Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh on October 3 last year.

The farmers and the journalist were mowed down by a speeding vehicle. In the ensuing violence, two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers and the driver of a vehicle were also killed by an agitated mob.Two FIRs were lodged in connection with the violence.

Related:

Lakhimpur Kheri case: HC to deliver verdict on Ashish Mishra’s bail plea

Lakhimpur Kheri case: Third witness attacked, survives firing by goons

Farmers demand answers: What happened to written promises?

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Government still not inclined to give legal guarantee for MSP?

Farmers’ groups have been demanding MSP based on the C2+50 formula

26 Jul 2022

MSPImage: ANI

The government has clarified that the committee set up to look into matters pertaining to Minimum Support Price (MSP) in wake of the year long farmers’ agitation, is not looking to offer any legal guarantee for MSP.

Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament Ram Nath Thakur had asked, “Whether Government had assured the Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) in December, 2021 that a Committee would be constituted to provide legal guarantee of Minimum Support Price (MSP) to farmers,” and “details thereof”.

In a formal written submission before the Parliament, Narendra Singh Tomar, who is the Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, has stated, “No, Sir. The Government had assured the formation of a Committee to make MSP more effective and transparent, to promote natural farming and to change crop pattern keeping in mind the changing needs of the country.”

It is noteworthy that though farmers’ organisations such as SKM had been categorically demanding that MSP be calculated as per the C2+50 formula proposed by the Swaminathan commission, the government has not taken this formula into consideration. Instead, the minister submitted, “Government has increased MSPs for all mandated Kharif, Rabi and other Commercial crops with a minimum return of 50 percent over all India weighted average cost of production from year 2018-19 onwards.”

The entire answer may be read here: 

Framers’ concerns about MSP

SabrangIndia had reported previously that in June, farmers’ groups had condemned the Centre’s recommended MSP for Kharif 2022-23 crops, which came to an increase of less than a 10 percent. The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices’ (CACP) report had recommended a meagre five percent increase for paddy crops! As per the report, while MSP for the groundnut crop was increased by only five percent, it was increased by eight percent for Jowar, and 8.9 percent for the yellow soybean crop.

At that time, the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) had pointed out how cost of production has increased sharply due to high prices of fuel and other inputs, massive shortages and increase in the prices of fertilizers.

“Even in the last season, black marketing of fertilizers was rampant because of shortages of supply. The situation has turned worse in the recent months because of sanctions by the US and EU against Belarus and Russia,” AIKS General Secretary Hannan Mollah had explained.

In fact, the Jai Kisan Andolan had found that the MSP of 11 out of 14 crops to be reduced in real terms. According to JKA Founder Yogendra Yadav, the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) monetary policy committee on June 8, 2022 had forecast a 6.7 percent inflation in FY-23. In terms of input cost for farmers, increase in diesel and fertilizer prices worsens the impact of inflation on peasants.

“If the inflation in input cost for farmers is compared to the MSP declared by the government, then it is clear that for 11 out of 14 crops, the increase in MSP is less than the cost inflation. Thus, in real terms, the MSP has been reduced for 11 crops,” said Yadav.

GoI’s MSP Committee

The government constituted its MSP Committee on July 18, under the chairmanship of former Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agrawal. Other members of the 29-member panel include NITI Aayog member Ramesh Chand, agriculture economists CSC Shekhar and Sukhpal Singh and Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices member Naveen P Singh. It also includes members of different farmers’ groups.

The Committee was summarily panned by various farmers’ organisations. The SKM has rejected the committee saying "so-called farmer leaders" who supported the now-repealed farm laws are its members. NDTV quoted Bhartiya Kisan Union-Dakaunda (BKU-D) leader Manjit Singh Dhaner as saying, “Only a formality has been done by forming this committee.”    

Related:

Farmers demand answers: What happened to written promises?

Farmers reject Centre’s committed MSP prices

Government still not inclined to give legal guarantee for MSP?

Farmers’ groups have been demanding MSP based on the C2+50 formula

MSPImage: ANI

The government has clarified that the committee set up to look into matters pertaining to Minimum Support Price (MSP) in wake of the year long farmers’ agitation, is not looking to offer any legal guarantee for MSP.

Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament Ram Nath Thakur had asked, “Whether Government had assured the Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) in December, 2021 that a Committee would be constituted to provide legal guarantee of Minimum Support Price (MSP) to farmers,” and “details thereof”.

In a formal written submission before the Parliament, Narendra Singh Tomar, who is the Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, has stated, “No, Sir. The Government had assured the formation of a Committee to make MSP more effective and transparent, to promote natural farming and to change crop pattern keeping in mind the changing needs of the country.”

It is noteworthy that though farmers’ organisations such as SKM had been categorically demanding that MSP be calculated as per the C2+50 formula proposed by the Swaminathan commission, the government has not taken this formula into consideration. Instead, the minister submitted, “Government has increased MSPs for all mandated Kharif, Rabi and other Commercial crops with a minimum return of 50 percent over all India weighted average cost of production from year 2018-19 onwards.”

The entire answer may be read here: 

Framers’ concerns about MSP

SabrangIndia had reported previously that in June, farmers’ groups had condemned the Centre’s recommended MSP for Kharif 2022-23 crops, which came to an increase of less than a 10 percent. The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices’ (CACP) report had recommended a meagre five percent increase for paddy crops! As per the report, while MSP for the groundnut crop was increased by only five percent, it was increased by eight percent for Jowar, and 8.9 percent for the yellow soybean crop.

At that time, the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) had pointed out how cost of production has increased sharply due to high prices of fuel and other inputs, massive shortages and increase in the prices of fertilizers.

“Even in the last season, black marketing of fertilizers was rampant because of shortages of supply. The situation has turned worse in the recent months because of sanctions by the US and EU against Belarus and Russia,” AIKS General Secretary Hannan Mollah had explained.

In fact, the Jai Kisan Andolan had found that the MSP of 11 out of 14 crops to be reduced in real terms. According to JKA Founder Yogendra Yadav, the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) monetary policy committee on June 8, 2022 had forecast a 6.7 percent inflation in FY-23. In terms of input cost for farmers, increase in diesel and fertilizer prices worsens the impact of inflation on peasants.

“If the inflation in input cost for farmers is compared to the MSP declared by the government, then it is clear that for 11 out of 14 crops, the increase in MSP is less than the cost inflation. Thus, in real terms, the MSP has been reduced for 11 crops,” said Yadav.

GoI’s MSP Committee

The government constituted its MSP Committee on July 18, under the chairmanship of former Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agrawal. Other members of the 29-member panel include NITI Aayog member Ramesh Chand, agriculture economists CSC Shekhar and Sukhpal Singh and Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices member Naveen P Singh. It also includes members of different farmers’ groups.

The Committee was summarily panned by various farmers’ organisations. The SKM has rejected the committee saying "so-called farmer leaders" who supported the now-repealed farm laws are its members. NDTV quoted Bhartiya Kisan Union-Dakaunda (BKU-D) leader Manjit Singh Dhaner as saying, “Only a formality has been done by forming this committee.”    

Related:

Farmers demand answers: What happened to written promises?

Farmers reject Centre’s committed MSP prices

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Lakhimpur Kheri case: HC to deliver verdict on Ashish Mishra’s bail plea

26 Jul 2022

Ashish Mishra

Lucknow: The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday will deliver its verdict on the bail plea of Ashish Mishra alias Monu, the son of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra, in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case.

A bench of Justice Krishna Pahal had reserved its order on July 15 after completing the hearing.

The Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court had granted bail to Ashish on February 10, 2022.

But, later the Supreme Court cancelled the bail and directed the high court to decide his bail plea after affording adequate opportunity to the victim side.

Accordingly, the high court heard his bail plea afresh.

Meanwhile on May 9, the court rejected the bail pleas of co-accused Lavkush, Ankit Das, Sumit Jaiswal and Shishupal.

While rejecting their pleas, the high court had observed that the four accused were actively involved in planning and participation of the heinous offence committed in a “cruel and inhuman manner” and as such did not deserve bail.

The bench had further observed, “These four accused and the main accused, Ashish Mishra alias Monu belonged to very influential political families as said and apprehension of the prosecution that they would interfere with the course of justice, tamper with the evidence and influence the witnesses, cannot be ruled out at this stage.”

Ashish Mishra is a co-accused in connection with the killing of four farmers and a journalist at Tikunia in Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh on October 3 last year.

The farmers and the journalist were mowed down by a speeding vehicle. In the ensuing violence, two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers and the driver of a vehicle were also killed by an agitated mob.

Two FIRs were lodged in connection with the violence.

Lakhimpur Kheri case: HC to deliver verdict on Ashish Mishra’s bail plea

Ashish Mishra

Lucknow: The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday will deliver its verdict on the bail plea of Ashish Mishra alias Monu, the son of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra, in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case.

A bench of Justice Krishna Pahal had reserved its order on July 15 after completing the hearing.

The Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court had granted bail to Ashish on February 10, 2022.

But, later the Supreme Court cancelled the bail and directed the high court to decide his bail plea after affording adequate opportunity to the victim side.

Accordingly, the high court heard his bail plea afresh.

Meanwhile on May 9, the court rejected the bail pleas of co-accused Lavkush, Ankit Das, Sumit Jaiswal and Shishupal.

While rejecting their pleas, the high court had observed that the four accused were actively involved in planning and participation of the heinous offence committed in a “cruel and inhuman manner” and as such did not deserve bail.

The bench had further observed, “These four accused and the main accused, Ashish Mishra alias Monu belonged to very influential political families as said and apprehension of the prosecution that they would interfere with the course of justice, tamper with the evidence and influence the witnesses, cannot be ruled out at this stage.”

Ashish Mishra is a co-accused in connection with the killing of four farmers and a journalist at Tikunia in Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh on October 3 last year.

The farmers and the journalist were mowed down by a speeding vehicle. In the ensuing violence, two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers and the driver of a vehicle were also killed by an agitated mob.

Two FIRs were lodged in connection with the violence.

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