The All India Kisan Sabha on Friday released a model farm bill to counter Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s contention that farmers are anti-reform.
Drafted in keeping with the Constitution’s federal structure, the model bill seeks to ensure fair prices for farm produce through procurement, facilitate processing and conversion to value-added products, and ploughing back a share of the surplus value to farmers and farm workers.
Briefing journalists, AIKS general secretary Hannan Mollah said the enactment of a law guaranteeing a minimum support price (MSP) did not mean the entire financial burden would fall on the government. All it meant was that anyone buying from farmers — the government or a private player — would be mandated by law to pay the minimum price.
“We are not saying the government should purchase everything that is grown by the farmers,” Hannan Mollah said, referring to home minister Amit Shah’s contention that the government lacked enough money to afford a legally guaranteed MSP.
“By refusing to enact a law, the government is essentially trying to secure the profit margins of their corporate friends; they want to help a handful of big companies maximise their profits,” Hannan Mollah said.
The AIKS leadership said the thrust of the draft bill was on creating farmers’ cooperatives on the lines of Amul, which had helped farmers fight off milk companies and turn their cooperatives into a force to reckon with. “The government can play the role of a facilitator.”
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha has, in keeping with its efforts to build solidarities across segments of society, demanded an unbiased investigation into the mysterious deaths of two Dalit girls in Unnao and the grievous injuries suffered by a third.
The protesting farmers have also demanded proper medical treatment for the surviving girl.