Story of Indian agriculture and farmers protests

Resemblance in the sector of agriculture between Pakistan and India is inevitable owing to same origin. The only difference is the level of scale otherwise even contribution of said sector in gross domestic product of state is almost same.

After analyzing agriculture setup of both countries, one can be deceived by the concept of two states but one system. But now a massive change is being seen by the passage of new bills related to agriculture sector in India which have brought some pros as well as cons along with them and most of the farmers seem annoyed and protesting on the passage of these bills especially, farmers from Indian Punjab and state of Haryana.

Let’s have a look on these bills passed by the legislature and whether they will serve the interests of the farmers or not and also whether should Pakistan shift its vogue in the agriculture sector following this transformation or not.

First bill is shaped to deal with farmers’ concern over price control. This bill is kind of a contract between a farmer and a business owner or a corporation. Demanded crops will be grown by farmers by taking in view the interest of corporations as well as consumers and in this matter corporation will facilitate farmers by providing essentials items required for farming. A legal agreement will be signed between farmer and corporation before investment. It is being expected that it will help farmers adjust prices of their will and it will also help to attract private investment in agriculture sector. It is also being expected that monopoly of AMPCs will also be reduced.

But is really so the case? There was a fear in the mind of the farmers that they would be exploited by large corporations as they were already being exploit by the AMPCs. Large corporations may have monopoly over small land holdings in many ways. They may excuse them over quality of crop and do not pay full amount or with the help of hoarding they may compel them to sell farmers their products on cheap rates by pretending that they have already immense stock of product.

Second bill is somewhat interconnected to fist bill in which influence of Mandis have been declined by allowing interstate transportation and also allowing farmers to sell their products on the place of their choice with their will. But states have registered their concerns over the passage of this bill as agriculture falls under states’ list and it help state to collect revenue by imposing taxes, especially to large land holders. Overtaking of Mandis has helped big farmers to evade taxes. Small farmers have nothing to do with this bill though. Thirdbill deals with matter hoarding. It is not a new bill but an amendment in existing bill. This bill has excluded some of products from the list of essential commodities as well as central government can only intervene in the time of war, famine, calamities or high price rise. Indirectly, central government has allowed hoarding or has legalized it.

By critically analyzing these bills, one can easily reach to a conclusion that these laws have only served the interests of big farmers and corporations. Besides it, these bills have also allowed hoarders to hoard without fear of being caught.

On critically analyzing it can be easily comprehend that bill no.1 and bill no.3 are contradicting each other and duplicity of government can easily be understood. On one side bill no.1 assures price control by farmers whereas bill no.3 makes hoarding a legal process which may bring volatility in prices of goods. Collusion of government with hoarders is a clear depiction that hoarders are sitting in legislation houses or they have influence over legislature.

There was close relation between APMCs and MSP and by reducing influence of APMCs, states’ role to maintain prices of goods may also diminish. If these bills were passed to serve the interests of farmers, be it big or small, then why are they protesting? Apparently they are serving interests of farmers but in reality they are serving interests of corporations and hoarders. Farmers are being exploited as usual. Had these bills served interest of farmers they would have never protested against such kind of bills.

Pakistan is country which has already politically divided, such bills may give a chance to opposition to attain their hidden goals by taking advantage of such bills. Culture of feudalism would never allow such kind of bills. Most of the feudal are sitting in national assembly and they would also not let these bills passed.Revenue earned from agriculture sector may also evanesce and it may also provide safe heavens to accumulators.

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