Peasants across India are gearing up for another farmer protest in Delhi, reminiscent of the 2020-2021 movement. Dubbed as the ‘Chalo Delhi March' or Kisan Andolan 2.0, this mobilization sees farmers from various states converging to voice their grievances. The primary demand remains the assurance of minimum support prices for crops, alongside issues like electricity rates, loan waivers, and more.
Movement Recap: Focused on Persistent Issues
Similar to the previous movement, the core demands revolve around ensuring a minimum support price for crops, concessions in electricity rates, and loan waivers. This time, farmers plan to sustain protests using tractors, trolleys, and ration supplies, mirroring the previous long-term protests at Delhi's borders. Notably, this movement lacks unified support from all farmer organizations.
Call for Bharat Bandh: A Nationwide Protest
While the All India Kisan Sabha is currently distancing itself, the United Kisan Morcha has called for a Bharat Bandh on February 16th. This strike aims to halt all farming and labor activities nationwide, blocking national highways from 12 noon to 4 pm. The protest underscores the government's failure to implement the Swaminathan Commission's recommendations, despite awarding its namesake the Bharat Ratna.
Key Demands: Voices from the Farmer Protest
The farmers' demands include MSP legislation, implementation of Swaminathan Commission recommendations, farm loan waivers, justice for Lakhimpur Kheri violence victims, India's withdrawal from the WTO, reduced import duties on agricultural commodities and
pension scheme for farmers above 58 years old, among others.
Farmer are also demanding improvement in the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, payment of insurance premium by the government itself, making all crops a part of the scheme and assessing the loss by considering the farm acre as a unit while assessing the loss.
The Land Acquisition Act, 2013 should be implemented in the same manner and the instructions given by the Central Government to the states regarding land acquisition should be cancelled.
The quality of seeds of all crops including cotton should be improved by amending the Pesticides, Seeds and Fertilizer Act.
Security Measures: Preparing for Farmer Protest
To prevent farmers from besieging Delhi, authorities have installed barbed wire and cement barricades at Singhu, Ghazipur, and Sindhu borders. Delhi Police are on high alert, deploying vehicles, barricades, CCTV, and loudspeakers. Concerns linger over potential disruptions along the Delhi-Meerut highway, with Western Uttar Pradesh organizations possibly joining the protests.
Anticipating a Prolonged Standoff
As farmers mobilise for another protest, their demands resonate with agricultural reforms and socio-economic justice. With memories of the previous standoff fresh, both farmers and authorities brace for a potentially prolonged confrontation, underscoring the urgency for meaningful dialogue and resolution.
Ram Kumar Kaushik is a seasoned journalist with over 25 years of experience across mediums. The architect of this news website, he is also a consultant with several media groups. He was formerly the group managing editor of ITV Network (NewsX, India News and The Sunday Guardian) and its digital products.