Farmers and labourers resolve to oppose Centre’s laws targeting them

Delegates of various peasant and marginalised groups passed a slew of resolutions against the Centre’s many “anti-people” laws


Peasant leaders and marginalised groups passed various resolutions relating to the three farm laws, the legal guarantee to MSP, the Electricity Bill 2021 and the Commission of Air Quality Management (AQM) in NCR and Neighbouring Areas Act among other points of discussion during the National Convention.

On August 27, 2021 the Convention called upon people “to come forward and make the Muzaffarnagar rally on September 5 a success and to organise a massive Bharat Bandh on September 25, the anniversary of the first such rally by the movement.”

Resolution on Contract Farming Act

Delegates of various farming, trade union, youth, women’s and Dalit groups came together to understand how the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance & Farm Services Act will compel Indian farmers to sign unfair contracts with big corporates. The big companies will force farmers to grow commercial crops and strip them of the freedom to grow food crops.

“It will force them to buy costly inputs and mechanised farm services sold by contracting companies. Farmers will have to engage in separate agreements with debt institutions for money by mortgaging land and other assets,” said the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM).

Further, farmer leaders said the law will establish a series of middlemen to supervise fulfilment of contract conditions and shift cropping patterns in entire districts or its parts as per allotment to companies.

Resolution on mandi bypass law

From the beginning, farmers voiced concern about how the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act will allow private corporations to get powerful middlemen, agriculture cooperative societies to establish electronic trading platforms and offer the lowest prevailing online rates.

“It will deny any purchase at the MSP declared by governments. Corporations will be free to procure and hoard food crops. The government will promote these ‘alternate’ channels of trade, meaning thereby that it will not support the government mandis and procurement at MSP rates,” said the SKM.

Farmers worry that private mandis will dominate the trade and allow corporations to set the benchmark for high rates of inputs and services and low rates for crops. This will allow businesses to control the entire food chain from crop purchase, storage, transport, processing and marketing of packed and processed foods.

Resolution on the ECAA

The SKM said the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act appalled farmers by removing crucial food grains from the list of essential items. This means that prices of cereals, pulses and oilseeds can be increased by 1.5 – 2 times each year.

“With no government procurement, supply of food grains in the Public Distribution System (PDS) will stop, which as per WTO conditions has already been on the cards. It will allow unlimited stocking and black marketing of food by multinational and Indian food corporations,” said the SKM.

Resolution on other laws

Along with previous laws, farmers also talked about the new Electricity Bill 2021 and the Commission of Air Quality law for NCR and adjacent areas that penalised farmers for stubble burning. Farmers said the Electricity Bill withdraws subsidised energy supply for agriculture and rural households. This threatens to more than double electricity rates and will allow charging of commercial rates for household businesses.

Similarly, the air quality law lives a heavy fiscal blow on farmers by imposing heavy fines and imprisoning them for “causing pollution”. Farmer leaders criticised this clause and said stubble burning has a miniscule role in NCR’s air quality.

Resolution on legal guarantee for MSP

The House considered the issue of legal guarantee of Minimum Support Price (MSP) for all agriculture produce C2+50 percent. It said that the Centre should bring down prices of inputs and services, correctly evaluate the cost of production using farmer inputs, declare the aforementioned MSP, regulate its export-import and other policies and provide for procurement of all crops that sell below MSP.

In response to the Centre’s previous proposals, the SKM said, “All proposals of the government to make changes in these laws provide no answer or relief to farmers’ apprehensions of corporate takeover of agriculture production, processes and markets; to their suffering by loss of land and livelihood; to the damage caused to India’s environment, ecology and biodiversity.”

Session on Industrial workers and Trade Union struggles

Leaders present at the convention also focussed on the four labour codes imposed on India’s workforce. The codes undermine the rights of industrial workers.

“It has driven severe increases in prices of petrol, diesel, cooking gas and fertilizers amongst others. It moves to withdraw PDS rations and convert it into a cash transfer scheme. We support all struggles of the people on these issues,” said the SKM.

More than 100 delegates of the AIKS, AIAWU, CITU, AIDWA, DYFI and SFI from various states participated in this national convention.

Session on Agriculture workers, rural poor and Tribals

Similarly, farmers mourned the forced displacement of tribals from their indigenous land. Tribal farmers are forced to hand over forest and mineral resources, said farmer leaders. Members also condemned the Centre for failing to implement the Forest Rights Act 2006 or the MNREGA.

Delegates pointed out that the Centre also failed to implement the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 that caters to the rehabilitated, resettled people.

Session on women, students, youth

Women leaders present at the event talked about the increased attacks on women and their democratic rights and freedom during the BJP party’s rule. Members said the regime encourages regressive manuvadi or patriarchal and capitalist forces in society, while withdrawing from its social responsibilities towards the underprivileged. People also condemned government efforts to privatise health and education, distancing it from the reach of the poor.

Resolution on Communalism

Along with a manuvadi mindset, delegates criticised attacks on minorities that created a communal strife to remain in power. They alleged the regime was making desperate efforts to vitiate communal harmony and democratic fabric of the country.

“This communal polarization by RSS- BJP is a serious violation of the Preamble of our Constitution which is secular and democratic. This Convention pledges to unitely fight the communal design of these anti people, communal forces,” said the SKM.

Resolution on Privatization

The gathering collectively condemned the attempts to privatise several public sector undertakings and government assets to big companies. These include railways, power sector, natural gas resources, telecom projects, food storage, insurance, banks and other valuable assets.

“These are the property of the people of India and have been built with their efforts and their money. This will lead to a massive rise in unemployment. The RSS-BJP is continuing on its path of service to Corporate and MNCs while attacking the people. This Convention pledges itself to supporting all struggles against this Corporatization of India’s natural resources and public sector wealth,” said the SKM.


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