Farmer protest results in closure of NCR border, Ignorant government adds to their distress

The farmers protesting against the farm laws implemented by the central government has resulted in the closure of the Noida-Delhi border on December 2. 

The authorities have requested people to use only (Delhi Noida Direct) DND or the way through Kalindi Kunj for travelling instead of taking the Chilla route.  The Delhi police have also stated that using the Noida link to move across the border is not safe, the commuters should use the national highway or the DND instead. 

With more farmers joining the protest for support, they have refused to negotiate with the government. The leader of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) has said that they will not settle with any less than the dismissal of the new laws. 

Agriculture contributes to about 70% of the Indian Economy out of which 82% of the farmers are marginal and small. With agriculture being an important economic activity of the country, it should pay more attention to the welfare of the farmers and agriculture. However, recently the farmers have been facing a number of disadvantages and situations that have led to their deterioration. 

For instance, on November 28, it came into light that the cyclone Nivar in the southern part of India resulted in severe damage to the cotton crops in the Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh. The crops have been discoloured and cannot be used further. This has caused heavy losses for the farmers due to delay in procurement and in less quantity. The cotton crops were also drenched in the rain. 

Cotton farmers suffer damages due to cyclone Nivar-ANI - BW Businessworld
photo credits- BW Businessworld

They have asked the government to buy cotton from them as the market would not. This way they would recover for the losses in a productive way. In other parts of the country, farmers have faced the loss of their crops due to such disasters, heavy rains and waterlogging. 

In September, Gujarat experienced heavy rains had resulted in the overflow of the dams due to heavy rains. This led to farmers facing loss and severe damage to Kharif crops. In this regard, they were given only 33% of relief by the state under the SDRF (State Disaster Response Fund).

Farmers Worried as Incessant Rains in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh Damages Key  Kharif Crops
photo credits- Krishi Jagran

The Kharif crops cover around 84 lakh hectares including 20.65 lakh hectares engaged in the cultivation of groundnuts, cotton on 22.77 hectares, cereals on approximately 13 lakh hectares and pulses on 4.36 lakh hectares. When cultivation takes place on such a large scale, a mild compensation of 33% would not help them to cover their losses. 

Additionally, the coronavirus took a heavy toll on them. It affected the movement of labourers and farmers even the farm products in the country further created problems for them. 

Additionally, the farm machines were not available for harvesting the crops which delayed the stocking of the farm products and the untimely rainfall further damaged the crops. They had also requested the government to offer relief to them. 

Cotton farmers suffer damages due to cyclone Nivar-ANI - BW Businessworld
photo credits- businessworld

While the government has not been of much use to them. Even the capital expenditure of the government on agriculture was significantly decreased from 73.5% in 2018 to 58.2% in 2019. Their policies have not been fruitful such as the E-nam policy. In April 2016, the central government proposed that the national agricultural market should take place on an online trading portal with an intention of returning the fair value of the farm products to the farmers. The full process of this plan was decided, however, the proposal was a failure. 

The portal was created with a view of making it efficient for the farmers but their education level and disinterest in using the online platform was not taken into consideration. Even the usernames of their profiles were not shared with the farmers leading them to not believe in its benefits and usage. It was realised after a huge amount of funds were spent on executing the policy for each mandi and every farmer. 

Recently, in the initial stage of the protest against the farm bills, the government had not been keen on knowing the problems of the farmers instead they kept on discussing the benefits and advantages of the farm laws. It was only when the protest had escalated to Delhi gherao, the central government agreed on meeting the farmers. 

However, they even had put forward certain conditions for the meeting. The farmers were not ready to negotiate furthermore. This led them to believe that no discussion takes place on conditions and the debate would only be limited to the advantages of the laws for the farmers. 

About 70% of the household in rural India depends on agriculture for their livelihood, any damage to the crops and other farm products would reduce the country’s already struggling economy, affecting more than half of the country’s population. 

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