Three ordinances and a protest: Why Haryana and Punjab farmers are angry -Harish Damodaran, Anju Agnihotri Chaba and Parthasarathi Biswas

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published Published on Sep 13, 2020   modified Modified on Sep 13, 2020

-The Indian Express

These protests, preceded by sit-ins across Punjab, are expected to gather steam after September 14, when Parliament convenes for the Monsoon Session.

Jalandhar, New Delhi and Pune: On Thursday, farmer organisations in Haryana defied prohibitory orders imposed amid the pandemic to hold a rally at the Pipli wholesale grain market near Kurukshetra. They even blocked the Delhi-Chandigarh national highway for a couple of hours, when the police initially did not allow them to move to the venue. Their target was three central laws promulgated through ordinances on June 5: The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020. These protests, preceded by sit-ins across Punjab, are expected to gather steam after September 14, when Parliament convenes for the Monsoon Session.

* How widespread are the agitations in Haryana?

For now, these seem largely limited to Punjab and Haryana. Farmer leaders in Maharashtra, including Raju Shetti of Swabhimani Paksha and Anil Ghanwat of Shetkari Sanghatana, have actually welcomed the ordinances. Shetti, a two-time Lok Sabha MP, has called them “the first step towards financial freedom for farmers”.

The opposition by farmer groups in Punjab and Haryana, too, is primarily to the first ordinance that allows sale and purchase of crops to take place outside state government-regulated APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) mandis. They probably have no real issues with the other two ordinances — which basically do away with the imposition of stockholding limits on foodstuffs (except under “extraordinary circumstances” such as war and natural calamities of grave nature) and facilitate contraction cultivation (wherein farmers can enter into agreements with buyers before any planting season).

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The Indian Express, 13 September, 2020, https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/three-ordinances-protest-why-are-haryana-farmers-angry-6592559/


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