#KisanKrantiMarch: What are our farmers demanding?
Thousands of farmers today marched towards Delhi over demands ranging from farm loan waivers to cut in fuel prices. However, the situation grew tense and violent when, despite police warnings, the farmers tried breaking the barricade to enter Delhi and police had to resort to water cannons, tear gas, and mild lathi-charge. But, what exactly are our farmers demanding? Here, let us answer.
Full implementation of Swaminathan Commission report
The implementation of recommendations by Swaminathan Commission, which had submitted five reports between 2004 to 2006 for "faster and more inclusive growth" for farmers, is on the top of the farmers' demands. The Commission observed that farmers needed to have an assured access to and control over rightful basic resources including land, water, bio-resources, credit and insurance, technology and knowledge management, and markets.
Why are farmers demanding a full implementation of Commission's report?
The farmers are demanding a full implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations because it would lead to reasonable MSP (Minimum Support Price), and small farmers would be secured as the report states agriculture is a matter of concern for both the Union and the states.
Waiving off of farm loans is another major demand
This group of farmers, which belongs to Bhartiya Kisan Union, has also demanded farm loan waivers like the farmers from Maharashtra did earlier. Farmers have been unable to repay loans because of crop failures, droughts, floods, or low MSP. The non-repayment of loans has put them under pressure, leading to many farmers committing suicide. The protesters have called for a one-time complete loan waiver.
Demand #3: Cutting down of fuel prices
Fuel prices in the country are breaking new records every day with petrol breaching the Rs. 90/liter mark in Mumbai and diesel touching Rs. 78.69/liter today. This increase has put an additional burden and reduced the profit margin for farmers, who demand fuel price cuts.
Payment of the pending sugarcane dues
The farmers also want the government to clear the dues of sugarcane farmers. In the 2017-18, India produced 32mn tons of sugar, while only 25mn tons was required, leading to a crash in sugar prices. As a result, these farmers couldn't clear their dues. Uttar Pradesh's government earlier, this month, approved a Rs. 5,535cr package to help mills clear outstanding payment dues to growers.
Demand #5: Uninterrupted power supply
While the diesel price hike is an issue, an increase in the electricity tariffs in UP remains another grievance that the farmers want the government to address. They have also demanded an uninterrupted power supply for at least six hours during noon time.
NGT ban on ten-year-old diesel vehicles
As per farmers, they will be hit hard by National Green Tribunal's ban on diesel vehicles older than ten years. Citing a lack of funds to buy new tractors and trucks, the farmers demand to scrap the order or provide them with compensation. "We are not seeking any alms from the government. We want our right," said Harmik Singh, a farmer from Meerut.
Lathi-charge, violence against farmers on Lal Bahadur Shastri's birth anniversary
While it remains to be seen whether the demands of farmers will be met or not, it is disheartening to see our farmers getting beaten and manhandled on the birth anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri, the stalwart who gave the slogan 'Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan'.Share this timeline