India: Thousands of farmers protest for guaranteed remunerative minimum support prices and freedom from debt
Author: Mridula Chari, Scroll, India, Published on: 5 December 2018
"Scroll Explainer: Why farmers are marching to Delhi", 29 November 2018
On Thursday [29 November], thousands of farmers from across India…gather[ed] at various points in Delhi. They [marched] to Parliament on Friday [30 November] with their demand for a Joint Session of Parliament to discuss the nation’s agricultural crisis. The march [was] organised by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, a coalition of around 200 large and small farmer groups from around the country.
...the groups want to discuss two private member bills tabled in the Lok Sabha [the Parliament of India] in August by…an independent farmers’ political party in [the state of] Maharashtra. The Bills – The Farmers’ Freedom from Indebtedness Bill, 2018, and The Farmers’ Right to Guaranteed Remunerative Minimum Support Prices for Agricultural Commodities Bill, 2018 – are the culmination of a series of protests that began in June 2017…
A key demand of the Bills is to make the minimum support price a legal requirement...This price represents a promise from the State to farmers that should market prices fall below a certain level, it will intervene to guarantee that price…[Another] key demand...is loan waivers for farmers...This will include those indebted to private moneylenders….
In the several farmer rallies of the last two years, a glaring absence has been that of tenant farmers, agricultural workers and women farmers. The committee wants to expand the definition of farmers to include not just those who own land, which is a critical point in accessing government support including institutional credit, crop insurance and drought compensation…