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APMC is to agriculture what government school is to education sector: P Sainath

By Our Representative

Calling upon non-farmers to support the farmers’ struggle, who have been protesting along Delhi borders for more than 50 days, Magsaysay Award winning journalist and social activist P Sainath has said that the three laws which the Government of India passed is an infringement of India's federal structure and the Indian Constitution.
Founder of the People's Archive of Rural India (PARI) and ex-editor, rural affairs, “The Hindu”, Sainath said, “Agriculture is a state subject under the Constitution of India. These three laws aggravate the existing agrarian crisis. They should be repealed. The government is playing with fire."
Suggesting how the Government of India through the three laws – Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) bypass law, contract farming law and decriminalization of commodity hoarding law – is trying to undermine APMCs, he said, "APMC is to agriculture what the government school is to the education sector. APMC is like the government hospital of the health sector. Reforms must be farmer friendly, and not corporate friendly.”
Sainath was speaking at a dialogue at Patna, co-organised by the Nation for Farmers, a collective of non-farmers, the Bihar Mahila Samaj and the Tatpar Foundation.
Insisting on the need to have a special session of Parliament for hearing the farmers and addressing their demands in the context of unprecedented mobilization of farmers on the issue of the farm market bills, he sought “restoration” of the farmers’ universe and status that has allegedly collapsed because new economic reforms have not been in sync with equality.
Sainath explained how the farmers are directly confronting the corporate power. “Their protest is in defence of democracy and for reclaiming the republic”, he said, questioning the enactment of the laws during the pandemic. Focusing on many aspects of the agrarian crisis, he added, there is a need to underline the importance of Minimum Support Price a proper procurement policy.
He concluded saying, “This is one of the series of struggles, the nation is with the farmers and this fight is ours, we need to show our solidarity with the mobilization of farmers because it is not an ordinary event. It merits special attention of all sections of society because these laws will have adverse effect on the rights of all the citizens.”
Dr Gopal Krishna of the Nation for Farmers introduced the subject and explained the backdrop in which Bihar's APMC Act was repealed because of irrational and unconvincing reasons and made a case for its restoration. Dr. Anamika Priyadarshini made a case for enactment of a law for the protection of women farmers. Nivedita Jha spoke about the march of women farmers which is being held on the occasion of Mahila Kisan Diwas on January 18.

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