Lakhs of farmers and farm labourers arrive in Delhi from across the country on November 29 to demand bills to guarantee fair price for agricultural produce and free farmers from indebtedness
More than one lakh farmers and farm labourers from 200 farmers’ organisations are marching towards Ramlila ground in Delhi from different parts of the country to lead a two day protest against the ongoing rural distress. Led by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), the Kisan Mukti March beginning November 29 will demand the Centre to legislate acts to free farmers from loans and guarantee remunerative price for their produce. The participants, that include rural migrants, are also demanding a discussion on agrarian crisis in a 21-day joint Parliament session. They are covering more than 10,000 km across 21 states.
At a media gathering held today in the capital city, Hannan Mollah, general secretary the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), part of AIKSCC and also a former member of Parliament said that instead of addressing farmers’ demand, the government is busy communalising the nation.
The last few months have seen many protests by farmers from across the nation. On October 2, farmers were not allowed to protest in Delhi, which led to a violent confrontation with administration at the border of the city. Finally, the government allowed thousands of farmers to enter Delhi in the middle of the night. A 180 km long farmers’ march from Nashik to Mumbai had caught the nation’s imagination in March this year.
Read about previous protests here and here
This year 255 districts in India recorded deficit monsoon and are facing drought like conditions. While some states have declared droughts and are providing relief measures, states like Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Assam have still not yet declared drought. Like last year, farmers are not getting the fair price of their produce. More than 60 per cent markets are selling agricultural produce below the Minimum Support Price.
A prominent demand is to pass two bills ‑‑ the Farmers’ Freedom from Indebtedness Bill, 2018 and the Farmers’ Right to Guaranteed Remunerative Minimum Support Prices for Agricultural Commodities Bill, 2018. These bills were prepared after consultation with 192 farmer organisations and political parties. Earlier this year on 28 March, 21 political parties had given its support to these bills.
On 1 May, 2018, representatives of farmers’ organisations had approved this bill in a parliamentary annexe and decided to march to Delhi in November to get these bills passed.
These bills have been introduced as Private Bills in the Parliament by K K Raghesh, MP and Joint Secretary of AIKS in Rajya Sabha and Raju Shetti, MP from Maharashtra in the Lok Sabha.
“The political parties will have to take a position on the two Bills and a broad charter of demands during 21 days special session of parliament,” says Mollah.
Leaders from 21 political parties gave its support, including the National Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, All India Trinamool Congress party leader Dinesh Trivedi, Congress leader Deepender Hooda, Rashtriya Janta Party leader J P Yadav, Shiv Sena Party leader Arvind Sawant, Biju Janta Dal leader Nagendra Pradhan, YSR Congress leader V Vijay Sai Reddy, J&K National Conference leader A R Rathar, CPI-M leader Hannan Mollah, Aam Aadami Party leader Ashutosh, Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Jayan Chaudhary.
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