Explained: Why Farmers Are Protesting Again And What Are Their Demands?

Farmers from Punjab and other states are heading to Delhi border to once again protest against the Centre. Police in both Haryana and Delhi have imposed several restrictions to stop movement of the protesting farmers

Over two years after the protests against the three farm laws of Modi government ended, thousands of farmers are once again headed to the national capital to protest against the Centre. To curb their movement, police in both Haryana and Delhi have imposed several restrictions to ensure that a repeat of 2020 protest is avoided.

Mobilised under the 'Delhi chalo' banner, farmers have clashed with police at Punjab-Haryana border. As per reports, they have removed spikes placed on Khanouri road while tear gas shells have been dropped by police at the Shambhu border.

With the protests intensifying, government has urged farmers to come forward for discussions but ensure that a peaceful environment is maintained. Union Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda said after a round of talks on Monday that government remains open for discussions.

However, the deadlock in talks has not been resolved so far. Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha have declared that over 200 farmer unions would press Centre for farmers' demands and march towards Delhi.

Reasons Behind Farmers Protest

Farmer unions have asked for a legal guarantee for minimum support price on crops from the government. During the last protest in 2020-21, similar demands for protection of MSP were raised by the farmer unions.

The government had formed a committee in July 2022 with mandate to explore ways to "make MSP more transparent and effective". Centre has said that one of the main farmers union, Samyukta Kisan Morcha, never nominated a member to this committee.

For the unversed, MSP regime declared minimum cost of procurement for 23 crops. However, as government procurement is mainly concentrated for paddy and wheat, prices for rest of the crop are largely dependent on market dynamics.

By making MSP a legal guarantee, the farmers argue that margins for the farmers can be protected. Moreover, they are also asking for MSP formula to be set along the line of recommendations of the MS Swaminathan Commission which submitted its report in 2006. According to the suggested formula, MSP should be set at 50 per cent over the cost of production.

Along with this demand, farmers are also asking for withdrawal of cases registered during the last agitation in 2020-21. The list of demands also include pensions for farmers, loan waivers and withdrawal from world trade organisation where India is facing pressure over its subsidies to farmers.

The protesting farmers argue that several promises were made by the government to end the previous agitation but it has not fulfilled all of them.

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