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Farmers urge Centre to hold special session on agrarian distress

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 30, 2018 Published on November 30, 2018

Farmers across the country participate in the March, starting from Ramlila Maidan, Delhi to Parliament. Their demands include special session of Parliament to implement Kisan Mukti Bill on Liberation from Debt and assured remunerative prices.   -  BL

The charter includes lucrative prices for crops, farm-loan waiver

A massive rally of farmers under the banner of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee have given a charter of demands to Parliament, Centre and to the political parties, demanding remunerative prices for their produce and waiving off loans.

The umbrella body of about 210 farmers’ organisations, which held Kisan Muti Morcha here on Friday, also urged the Centre to hold a special session to pass and enact the Farmers’ Freedom from Indebtedness Bill and the Farmers’ Right to Guaranteed Remunerative Minimum Support Prices for Agricultural Commodities Bill.

Both the Bills are pending before the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha as Private Members’ Bills.

The farmers said their well being is not just about economic survival of a majority of the Indian households, but also about retaining their national dignity and civil heritage. “Farmers are not just a residue from our past; farmers, agriculture and villages in India are integral to the future of the country and the world,” the charter said.

The protesters said they are alarmed at the economic, ecological, social and existential crisis of Indian agriculture and “persistent state of neglect and discrimination” of the farming communities.

Also, farmer leaders said that increasing vulnerability of farmers to extortion by the powerful in the village and government officials, and deepening penetration of large, predatory and profit-hungry corporations have also raised apprehensions.

More demands

Farmers have also expressed concern at the “spate of farmers’ suicide across the country and unbearable burden of indebtedness” and widening disparities between farmers and other sectors in the society.

They urged the Centre to immediately increase the number of guaranteed employment days under MGNREGA to 200 days per family and ensure wage payment at par with legal minimum wages for unskilled farm labour and extend this scheme to urban areas.

“Reduce the cost of inputs, including seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, water, diesel and electricity for farmers; provide comprehensive social security for all farm households, including pension at the rate of ₹5,000 per month per farmer above the age of 60 and health coverage,” they demanded.

They have also reiterated the demand that PDS be universalised with cereals, pulses, oils and sugar and stop its linkage with Aadhaar.

“Address the menace of stray animals by removing all legal and vigilante-imposed restrictions on cattle-trade, compensate farmers for destruction of crops by wild and stray animals and supporting animal shelters,” the charter of demands said.

‘Disallow FDI’

They want the Centre to disallow FDI in agriculture and foods processing, and remove agriculture from Free Trade Agreements, including the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

“Implement a comprehensive crop insurance scheme to cover all types of risks for all crops and all farmers, with farm as the unit of damage assessment. Such a scheme should benefit the farmers and not the corporate insurance companies,” they said.

 

Published on November 30, 2018
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