Farmer groups joined under the umbrella of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) are likely to end their one-year-long agitation against central government on December 9 after most of their demands have been met. According to SKM leaders, the groups have accepted the proposal made by the government and will meet at 12 noon today to take a formal decision to call off their agitation.
The solution came after the government repealed the controversial farm laws on the first day of the current session of Parliament and suggested a plan to meet the other demands of the protestors. The home ministry proposal includes formation of a committee to thrash out a mechanism to guarantee minimum support price (MSP) for agricultural produce, withdrawal of cases against farmers involved in the agitation and compensation for death of hundreds of people who were on the forefront of the agitation. The details of the proposals are yet to be clear. It will be conditional to farmers ending their strike.
The first move to end the strike came after the prime minister made a surprise announcement on November 19 that the government will repeal the three contentious Acts —The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 — during the Monsoon session of Parliament as government failed to convince a section of farmers on merits of these laws. Farmer organistions had welcomed the move but decided to continue the strike until they hear on other pending issues raised by them, including a statutory guarantee on MSP.
According to the government, the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, was meant to create an ecosystem where farmers and traders are given a choice to trade agricultural produce at remunerative prices through competitive alternative barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trading channels that do not come under the purview of state agricultural produce market laws. Similarly, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, was expected to provide a national framework on farming agreements between agri-business firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters and large retailers for farm services and sale. The amendment to the Essential Commodities Act was carried out to end distribution, supply and storage barriers and limits. The SKM had said that the three laws will deregulate trade on farmers produce, destroy food security and erode existing legal safeguards that prevent exploitation.