Many of my doctor friends have expressed an opinion on the farmer protests without meeting any farmers. Let me share what I have understood about the farm laws after spending 32 days with farmers, farm leaders and lawyers. This is for those who want to know both sides of the story, not hardline fanatic fans who don’t listen to logic. Please don’t bother trolling me. For those who want to know why the farmers are protesting, please read.
1. The constitutional provision provided to every Indian citizen to go to court for legal aid is missing in the farm laws. The maximum appeal can be to SDM and you know very well between the corporate vs farmers who the SDM will favour. This is a very big loophole in the Farm Laws.
2. The middleman or arthiya/APMC mandi act as a buffer to ensure funds are paid to farmers. Last month in Madhya Pradesh 2 businessmen collected grain produce worth 5 crore from 200 farmers and left them with cheques that bounced. The SDM said he has no idea what to do…and farmers have no where to go as the produce was collected from their farm, and no guarantee was made by any middleman. How will you safeguard farmers from such unscrupulous acts?
3. Contract farming allows the company to reject the produce grown if the specifications are not met. When the seed,fertilizer and pesticide is provided by company, how can farmer ensure a particular quality or shape of produce? A case like this has been on for several years between Pepsi (Lays) and farmers in Punjab for potatoes grown which did not meet the companies requirements. This act puts the farmers at the mercy of the companies receiving end with no redressal.
4. Almost 85% farmers in India have less than 2 acres of land, so the clause of opening the economy and allowing them to sell anywhere is ridiculous. Only big businesses need this clause.Funnily enough, after the Modi government passed these laws Haryana BJP government refused farmers from Rajasthan and Bihar to sell their produce within Haryana last month. So on the ground it’s not going to benefit the small farmer any which way.
5. The farmers have been demanding MSP and that should be given in writing that wherever the crop is sold it will not be less than the MSP. This is justified but not given in writing in the laws.
6. Removing the cap on storage of essential commodities will make large agro companies hold the public to ransom as the law clearly states that the government will only intervene in case of war or famine. Not in case of prices rising due to hoarding. This one clause will be a problem for every household in India. Probably not for the rich, but definitely for the middle and lower income groups.
Agriculture reforms have been needed for several decades but the only way they can be introduced is through dialogue not bullying and pushing laws down the throats of people most effected by them.
We in the medical fraternity are at the receiving end of similar laws that they are pushing allowing Indian Medicine to make rules for Modern medicine through the NMC. We fought tooth and nail but lost because this government is simply too arrogant to listen to reason. We are doing hunger strikes against Mixopathy but you and I both know the CCIM notification allowing Ayurveda Doctors to do 58 surgeries will not be taken back.
Aren’t you happy atleast one segment of Indians has dug it’s heels and said NO. Lot more effective than us medicos for sure.
Let us support them so that the government will get off their high horse and respect the opinions of people who’s lives are most effected by the laws they make and pass without dialogue and without due legal process in the Parliament.
I’m not going to argue with my respected medical fraternity colleagues but it’s always good to be aware of both points of view.
ENT Surgeon Gurgaon
I got Covishield vaccine yesterday and I am perfectly comfortable today.