Farmers to end protest tomorrow as Centre agrees to demands
Farmers are set to call off their protest against the central government's agricultural laws after taking a final call on Thursday noon. The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM)—an umbrella body leading the farmers' protest—said consensus had been reached over the Centre's proposal to quell protests. Notably, the Centre has decided to meet the farmers' demands, including the withdrawal of police cases filed against protesters.
Why does this story matter?
Farmers have been protesting for over 15 months on problems ranging from the now-scrapped farm laws to a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP). Once the protest ends, farmers camping at Delhi's borders will go home and the roads will reopen. The agitation is said to be one of the biggest protests anywhere in the world with the participation of farmers across India.
Farmers' panel discussed government proposal today
Earlier in the day, a five-member panel of farmer leaders discussed the government's fresh proposal. This proposal had agreed to meet the demand of immediate suspension of police cases against thousands of farmers filed during the past year over the protests and stubble burning. Earlier, the Centre had agreed to meet the key demands of withdrawing the farm laws and an MSP guarantee.
Farmers demanded compensation for those who died
Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have given an in-principle nod to offer financial compensation to the families of farmers who died in the protests. Punjab had earlier given 400 such families compensation of Rs. 5 lakh and jobs to 152 members in such families. The government also agreed to consider the opinions of all stakeholders before introducing the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 in Parliament.
What were the three farm laws?
The government had issued three farm bills in June 2020 and they were passed in Parliament in September. The three bills intended to transform India's agricultural sector were: The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020. The Farmer's (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
How did the protest begin?
Farmers had been protesting against the contentious bills since they were announced. The protesters said the bills would corporatize farming and take away MSPs, leaving farmers reliant on private players. On November 25, 2020, farmers groups rallied to Delhi on tractors as part of their 'Dilli Chalo' campaign. The farmers were stopped at Delhi's borders, where they have been camping since.
Protest intensified as government refused to cave
Ever since, representatives from the government and farmer leaders have held various rounds of talks to resolve the protest. However, the farmers had refused to end the protest until all their demands were met; all the while intensifying their protest. The protests were also marred by instances of violence, including the infamous Republic Day rally, where some rowdy protesters stormed the Red Fort.