Chalo Delhi protest: Farmers affiliated with the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha (KMM) and the non-political Samyukta Kisan Morcha are gearing up for a significant protest, embarking on a journey from various regions of Punjab. Despite heightened security at the borders of Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi, the farmers are resolute in their 'Chalo Delhi' protest scheduled for February 13.
Union ministers Piyush Goyal, Arjun Munda, and Nityanand Rai are set to meet with farmer leaders in Chandigarh on Monday to engage in talks with delegations from te Samyukta Kisan Morcha and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha.
Key Points | What Farmers Are Demanding?
Legislation for Minimum Support Price (MSP): The farmers are advocating for a legal guarantee ensuring MSP for all crops, aligning with the recommendations of the Dr Swaminathan Commission.
Debt Relief and Waiver: Seeking comprehensive economic relief, farmers demand the implementation of a debt relief programme, including a complete waiver of debts for both farmers and labourers.
Land Acquisition Act of 2013: The reinstatement of the Land Acquisition Act of 2013 on a national scale is sought, requiring written consent from farmers and providing compensation at four times the collector rate.
Justice for Lakhimpur Kheri Incident: Holding those accountable for the Lakhimpur Kheri case and ensuring justice for affected farmers is a critical aspect of the farmers' grievances.
Withdrawal from World Trade Organization (WTO): Farmers are urging the government to withdraw from the World Trade Organization and halt all free trade agreements to safeguard domestic agriculture.
Pension Scheme: Introducing a pension scheme for farmers and agricultural labourers is emphasised to provide financial security in their later years.
Compensation and Employment Opportunities: The demand includes compensation to the families of farmers who lost their lives during the Delhi agitation and providing employment opportunities to one family member.
Electricity Amendment Bill 2020: Rejecting the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020 is vital for protecting the interests of farmers and ensuring equitable access to electricity.
MGNREGA Enhancement: Farmers want the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) to be enhanced, offering 200 days of employment annually with a daily wage of Rs 700, integrating it with agricultural activities.
Penalties for Counterfeit Products: Enforcing stringent penalties on companies involved in the production of counterfeit seeds, pesticides, and fertilizers, while improving seed quality standards.
National Commission for Spices: Establishing a national commission dedicated to spices such as chili, turmeric, and other aromatic crops to support and promote their cultivation.
Despite the government's assertion that it has complied with various demands, concerns linger, particularly regarding MSP. Out of 3300 cases, over 3,077 were reportedly withdrawn, with only two percent remaining pending. Compensation has been provided, but issues arise concerning next of kin where immediate family relations are not established.
As the Lok Sabha polls are approaching, both state and central governments are wary of escalating tensions with farmers. However, finding a middle ground remains challenging.