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In addition to PM Modi, LoP Rahul Gandhi, SKM also to ask state governments to make MSP guarantee law as agriculture is also a state subject

SKM to resume agitation for MSP guarantee law

New Delhi, 11 July 2024 | Nirmesh Singh

A day after the Punjab & Haryana High Court’s decision directing Haryana government to open the Sambhu border within a week, farmers’ body Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) on July 11 announced it will resume its agitation over its pending demands, including a legal guarantee to MSP and loan waiver, and submit a memorandum listing farmers’ demands to the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition and Members of Parliament on 16, 17, 18 July 2024.

On being asked whether SKM will ask INDIA Alliance that includes Congress, Samajwadi Party, DMK and other opposition parties to introduce private members bill for MSP Guarantee in Parliament, the SKM leader Sunilam said, they will ask the opposition to introduce the bill, if govt is not going to bring it.

INDIA Alliance members such as Congress promised MSP Guarantee Law if voted to power.  

When asked further whether SKM will also ask INDIA alliance members such as Congress, AAP, DMK, JMM and other parties which have governments in some states like Karnataka, Telangana, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, etc, to make MSP guarantee law in these states as agriculture is also a state subject, Sunilam said, they will ask them to do so.

“SKM’s support to INDIA Alliance and opposition parties is only on the condition that they would work on our demands”, Sunilam added.

SKM also demanded separate budget for agriculture, abolition of Ministry of Cooperation in the Union Govt, no GST on Agricultural Inputs, Amendment of GST Act to ensure State Government’s Right on Taxation for strong States for Strong Union based on Cooperative Federalism and National Water Resource Policy. The demand also included the comprehensive insurance coverage for all crops, a monthly pension of ₹10,000 for all farmers and agricultural workers and implementation of the land acquisition law of 2013.

It also said, “The general body has decided to resume the agitation demanding implementation of the agreement, dated December 9, 2021, that the Union government has with the SKM, signed by the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Government of India, and other key demands affecting the livelihood of farmers.”

The SKM, an umbrella organization of farm unions that led the 2020-21 farmers’ protest indicated that the agitation this time may not be a march to Delhi as it said, this time they are focusing on nationwide protests, particularly in assembly election-bound Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Haryana.

All India Kisan Sabha’s (AIKS) Hannan Mollah said, “The same method of protest does not have to be used every time. We will hold protests across the country’.

Besides him, other leaders Avik Saha, Prem Singh Gehlawat, P Krishnaprasad, Dr Sunilam, Yudhvir Singh and R. Venkaiya also addressed the media.

The organization has also demanded that a Martyrs Memorial at Singhu/Tikri Borders to Commemorate 736 Farmer Martyrs who died during the 2020-21 farmers protest should be built at Delhi’s Tikri and Singhu borders, where agitators camped for more than a year as part of their agitation.

SKM said, it will also observe 9th August as “Corporates Quit India Day”, and also demanded India must come out of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and multinational corporations not be allowed to enter the agriculture sector.

“SKM’s Punjab unit will hold three-hour protests in front of the residences of Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and his ministers on 17th August on issues of water crisis, debt burden, opening the India-Pakistan trade through road corridors and federal demands of the State against the “policy of centralisation of power and resources” by the Modi-led NDA government”, said the organization.

The SKM, on the same day, will also organise seminars in all states on the issue of water crisis and climate change affecting agriculture.

The General Body appreciated the victory of farmer leaders Amraram from Sikar, Rajasthan, Rajaram Singh from Karakat, Bihar, Sudama Prasad from Arrah, Bihar and R Sachithanantham from Dindigul, Tamil Nadu, who were elected as Members of Parliament.

It also congratulated the farmers and workers across India for successfully bringing forth burning livelihood issues to counter the communal and pro-corporate narrative of the BJP. The BJP lost 63 seats and could get only 240, which is not even a simple majority in Parliament, for the first time in ten years.

The General Body adopted the demands that include:

  1. Legally guaranteed MSP@C2+50% with guaranteed procurement for all crops.
  2. Comprehensive loan waiver to free farmers and agricultural workers from indebtedness and end farm suicides.
  3. No privatisation of power sector, no prepaid smart meters.
  4. Comprehensive insurance coverage to all crops and animal husbandry under the Public Sector, scrapping of the anti-farmer and pro-corporate PMFBY Scheme.
  5. Pension of Rs.10, 000 (ten thousand) per month to all farmers and agricultural workers.
  6. Implementing Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013, revised circle rate of land every alternative year across India, providing due compensation to all those who lost land due to illegal acquisition for projects by the public as well as private sector and stopping acquisition without rehabilitation and resettlement; ending Bulldozer Raj of demolition of slums and settlements without prior rehabilitation.
  7. No corporatisation of agriculture, No MNC’s in agricultural production and trade, bringing India out of WTO agreement on agriculture.
  8. No GST on agricultural inputs such as fertilisers, seeds, pesticides, electricity, irrigation, petroleum products, machineries and tractors.
  9. Amending the GST Act to ensure the State Governments’ right to taxation as per the federal principles enshrined in the Constitution of India with the principle of strong States and strong Union of India.
  10. Introducing separate Union Budget for Agriculture with adequate share of GDP.
  11. Abolition of the Department of Cooperation in the Union Government, and keeping Cooperation as a State Subject as enshrined in the Constitution of India. The Union Government has to support the States instead of promoting centralisation of power for the interest of the corporate class at the cost of the producing classes-farmers and workers.
  12. Ensuring permanent solution for wildlife menace; provide Rs 1 crore compensation for loss of life and adequate compensation for loss of crops and cattle.
  13. Providing compensation for all the families of martyrs of the historic farmers’ struggle including the martyrs of Lakhimpur Kheri.
  14. Withdrawing all the cases related with the farmers’ struggle and building a suitable Martyrs Memorial at Singhu/Tikri Border to commemorate the 736 farmer martyrs.