Modi government’s anti-farmer face exposed: Farmers’ leaders

A government conference on December 10 both dismayed and emboldened farmers’ leaders, wherein the Union Minister said the three farm laws were passed, fall under the Concurrent list.


On December 10, 2020, the central government accepted that the three laws opposed by farmers are made for traders, said farmers’ leaders at Singhu border stressing that this confirmed the doubts that Indian farmers had harboured for the past six months.

During a press conference earlier in the day, Union Food & Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal attempted to dismiss farmers’ claims that the central government had no right to pass these laws by stating that “the central government has the power to enact laws under the Concurrent list for trade, particularly in foodstuffs.”

However, farmers’ leaders argued a rebuttal that this very fact made the laws “unconstitutional.”

“Today the government accepted that they made these laws for trade and commerce – the thirty-third item in the Concurrent list. However, this makes any further talks about amendments moot. Agriculture is an item under the State list. This means the central government has no right to make farming laws,” said President of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Balbir Singh Rajewal.

Regarding encouragement of private sector activity in agriculture, the farmers’ leader pointed out that the APMC Act already has a clause for allowing private investment in farming, making the recently passed laws redundant.

“There is no need to create a parallel market for private companies. The central government’s statement today has proved that we are right,” said farmers.

Similarly, President of Krantikari Kisan Union Darshan Pal said, “We warn the government against stopping fellow protesters from marching towards Delhi in coming days. Farmers do not want these laws. We never asked for privatisation in farming.”

Speaking about future protests, farmers’ leader Boota Singh said that farmers have resolved to block railway tracks. The Sanyukta Kisan Morcha will soon announce a fixed date for the same.

Meanwhile, a press release released by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) also condemned the Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar for stating that the three laws were welcomed by farmers across the country despite nationwide protests.

The pan-India protests showed that working-class people also understood the threats of these laws, said the organisation. They said that farmer organisations representing 20 crore farming households have rejected these laws.

They also ridiculed Goyal for saying that the Prime Minister’s visionary steps had resulted in higher farm productivity during the pandemic.

“Either the Minister does not know how hard farmers struggled to reach these productivity levels despite numerous government-imposed hurdles – from harvesting to marketing – or he is joining Modi in trying to steal credit for the hard-work of farmers. In either case, he must be history’s most anti-farmer Farmer Welfare Minister,” they said.

They also accused Goyal of spreading a false narrative that the government has ensured fees for private mandis when the government’s proposal recommended that state governments have the liberty to levy fees on private mandis. The AIKSCC expressed dismay at government officials discussing political events in West Bengal during a government press conference.

“It is clear that the authoritarian BJP government has forgotten the line that divides the party from the government,” they said.


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