A Farmer from Amritsar is Camping at Singhu Border

‘Protest And Studies Both Important For My Future’

Jarmanjeet Singh, 21, son of a farmer from Amritsar is camping at Singhu border to protest against the farm bills. When he is not agitating, Singh is attending online classes in computer applications

We have been told by the Union leaders to stay here till the newly inducted farm bills are not repealed. Many of us have been relay protesters, who camp at the protest site for 15 days then head back to tend family and household matters for the next 15 days. This cycle has to be maintained to strike a balance for our present as well as our future.

We are a family of farmers. We have fields at the outskirts of Amritsar. While I regularly work at the farms to help my family, I am also pursuing my post-graduate diploma in computer applications (PGDA). My parents have high hopes for me. They want me to get a good job since farming is no longer a profitable vocation. For this reason, I have brought my study material to Singhu border as 15-day is a long period and I shall not want to miss my online classes.

ALSO READ: ‘Providing Food To Farmer Is Sacred Duty’

I am not a student of economics, but it is easy to understand why the farmers are agitated. It takes months of hard work and patience to grow a crop and we never get the right price for the product. If a person creates a product, he or she has to decide the price of the product in the market; however, this is not the case with the farmers.

Singh brought his study material to the protest site at Singhu border

We produce crops and the adhatiyas decide the price. The government’s promise of minimum selling price (MSP) is rarely followed. And when this system has established well, the government wants to bring in corporates to fix the price.

ALSO READ: ‘This Govt Underestimated Farmers’ Grit’

Very often, the farmer is not even able to extract the input cost of the farm produce. For, it is not in our hands to determine the market price. The demand and price fluctuate at an alarming level and in a bad season, we are unable to meet our basic necessities.

The growth in farming has virtually stopped and that is why my parents don’t want me to take up farming. Therefore, I am trying my best to strike a balance between my studies and the agitation. The agitation is as important as studies for a farmer’s family like ours. One holds our present, another our future.

I am a student and my parents are bearing all of my expenses. If the only source of income to my family is threatened, what shall I do? I will go home in some days and then will return after spending 15 days there. I have no idea how long the agitation will go but I am prepared to stay with my fellow farmers for a long haul.

Protests Against Central Agri Laws

Watch – ‘We Haven’t Heard Of Farm Laws Or Protests’

Farmers of Punjab and Haryana have intensified their protests against Central Agri Laws and are camping at various protests sites on Delhi border. However, scores of small farmers in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh have little knowledge of either the new Central laws or the ongoing protests, even though they say that farming is a non-profitable occupation and payments from the crop-buyers are erratic and below MSP.

These farmers complain of dwindling incomes but have no solution in sight for their hardships. Clearly, farmer leaders have failed to communicate their agenda to a broader spectrum of farming community.

Watch the full video here:

Watch – ‘Farmers Have Been Betrayed Many Times’

As farmers from Punjab, camping at Delhi-Haryana border, continue with their protests against three Central agriculture laws, the farming community in Haryana has also thrown its weight behind them. To understand the position of farmers in Haryana and Punjab, LokMarg speaks to Veerendra Singh Badkhalsa, general secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Union, Haryana.

Badkhalsa says there is a trust deficit between farmers and the Centre. The farming community has little faith in the motive behind these new Central laws. Critical of politics behind the laws, he points out that laws brought in by Punjab Assembly have no new provision to safeguard farmers’ interest.

Watch the full interview here:

The Enacted Agriculture Bills

Watch – ‘Farmers Will Become Puppets Of Corporates’

As farmers in Punjab and Haryana continue their protests against the recently enacted Agriculture bills, LokMarg speaks to Swaraj India leader Rajiv Godara on why their organization is supporting the farmers’ demands.

Godara says the very fact that there were no debates, nor any discussions with farmer organisations before tabling this bills raises questions on the intention of the BJP-led Centre. He believes, the Centre wants to destroy mandi system and create new markets. “The day kisan mandis fails, the MSP will also be inevitably fail,” Godara told LokMarg. The NDA government plans to send the farmers off the field, and put corporates in their place. These laws will make farmers puppets in the hands of big businessmen, he says.

Watch the full interview here:

Watch – ‘New Laws Won’t Raise Income Of Farmers’

Dr Shantanu Dey Roy, Asst Professor in TERI School of Advanced Studies, tells LokMarg the inherent flaws and lacunae in the recently-enacted Central Agricultural Bills. Dr Roy says while these laws will be detrimental to the consumer, due to price manipulation, they will be ineffective in raising the income of the farmers. For, using this bill, big corporations can enter into the production network, and dictate the production process. Thus food security can be compromised.

Dr Roy points out that the main problem facing our farmers today is high input cost and low returns, rending agriculture unprofitable. Thus, the need is to fix a minimum price for various crops to turn farming into a profitable venture. These bills do little to address this problem. As far as the Centre’s claims about wiping out middlemen from the process are concerned, these are nothing but wishful thinking, he says.

Watch the full interview here: