Farmers' Protests hit an impasse in India

The three new farm acts, which have triggered protests by farmers in Punjab and Haryana, have hit an impasse and the two sides are now totally confused as to what is next.

  • First the protests moved from Punjab to Delhi. At that stage – the main demand from the farmers was the MSP or minimum support price – a minimum price guaranteed by the government under the APMC Act.

The three new Farms Acts (or new laws) did not mention the MSP other than a reference in Section 5(b) the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020.

After six rounds of negotiations between the farmers’ representatives and the minister for Agriculture Narender Singh Tomar, the government made a twenty page long offer to make amendments to the new laws which also included – giving a written guarantee of the MSP continuing as demanded by the farmers.

Guess what, the offer was not accepted.

  • Now the farmers are no longer worried about the absence of MSP guarantee. Now they want a complete repeal of the three new laws. And the negotiations have hit an impasse for now.

And the matter has also reached the Supreme Court of India.

Bharat Times organized a panel discussion on the issue (recorded on December 8) where both sides of the issue were passionately pleaded by – on one side Mr Suresh Vallath president of the Kerala Chapter of Overseas Congress (overseas unit of the Congress party of India) and defending the new reforms was Dr Mukesh Garg, senior lecturer of Financial Accounting and Auditing at Melbourne’s Monash University.

Dinesh Malhotra (of Bharat Times) moderated the discussion.

When asked where to from here, Mr Vallath adopting the Congress party position, said the only solution to end the protests would be a complete repeal of the new laws, a position now seemingly adopted by all leading protagonists.

Dr Garg on the other hand questioned the credentials of people sitting at Delhi corridor and defended the new laws in toto, of course subject to any amendments the government allows to make them work for the betterment of the Indian farmers.

Also read: Deciphering the politics behind the farmers’ protests in India

The panelists also discussed the issue of RSS’s credibility and the demand for the resignation of Australia’s High Commissioner in India Barry O’Farrell, merely for following the directions of his masters in Canberra and going and meeting the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

Watch full discussion here for a comprehensive Australian-Indian community viewpoint to India’s continuing Farmers’ protests impasse.

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