The two Kisan Mukti Bills – titled “The Farmers Freedom from Indebtedness Bill 2018” and “Farmers’ Right to Guaranteed Remunerative Minimum Support Price for Agricultural Commodities Bill 2018” has received support from a total of 21 political parties. They have been brought out by All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), an umbrella organization of 192 farmers’ outfits.
In a joint committee meeting held on April 25, between the representatives of AIKSCC and the members of various political parties, 21 political parties declared their support to the bills. AIKSCC gave call for a nationwide farmers demonstration on May 10, demanding the government to conduct a special parliament session to discuss the proposed bills.
“The two Kisan Mukti bills are introduced as Private Members’ Bill by Raju Shetti, Swabhimana Paksha MP from Maharashtra and K K Ragesh, Rajya Sabha MP from CPI(M) in the parliament. Farmers from across the country have decided to send letters to the speakers of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, stating how the Kisan Mukti Bills are important for them,” VM Singh, Convener of AIKSCC told Newsclick.
Further elaborating on the proposed nationwide farmers’ demonstration, Singh said, “May 10 was the day on which the Indian revolt of 1857 started against the British rule. Taking the same spirit forward, on the coming May 10, farmers from all districts in the country will be submitting representations to their respective district collectors, demanding for a special parliament session to discuss the two Kisan Mukti Bills.”
Among the political parties which supported the two draft bills are NCP, JDU-S, INC (Congress), CPI(M), RJD, BJD, Shiv Sena, Trinamool Congress, AAP, RLD, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, Swabhimana Paksha, TDP, Samajwadi Party, BSP, DMK, AIADMK, Janata Dal (S), Jharkhand Vikas Morcha and CPI.
Founded in June 2017, AIKSCC had organised Kisan Mukti Yatras across the country and led large-scale peasant agitations in 25 States of the country. In November 2017, the farmers’ body organised Kisan Mukti Sansad, in which about 2,00,000 farmers from all over the country occupied the Parliament Street in New Delhi. The two Kisan Mukti Bills have emerged out of these struggles.
The Farmers’ Freedom From Indebtedness Bill, 2018
The bill intends to confer a right on indebted farmers to obtain an immediate one-time complete loan waiver, a right of all farmers to obtain institutional credit. The Bill includes a provision for farmers suffering from natural disasters or distress to obtain protection from the debt trap. It also has the subsequent constitution of a National Commission and State Commissions with powers to pass awards and recommend appropriate measures for the relief of farmers from disasters and distress and matters concerned therewith and incidental thereto.
The Bill, if passed, will translate into a national law and will address the root causes of indebtedness and the increasing incidence of natural disasters due to climate change in various states across the country. The Bill provides a national framework with the cooperation of state governments, for the implementation of distress relief at the national and state levels, with adequate resource support from the Centre.
The Farmers’ Right To Guaranteed Remunerative Minimum Support Price For Agricultural Commodities, 2018
The Bill aims to confer a right on all farmers, to obtain guaranteed remunerative Minimum Support Prices (MSP) with minimum 50% profit margin over the comprehensive cost of production, upon the sale of agricultural commodities and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. It proposes to constitute the National and State Farmers Agricultural Costs and Remunerative Price Guarantee Commissions, autonomous bodies, to determine the comprehensive cost of production of the agricultural produce plus at least 50% profit margin as a Guaranteed Remunerative Minimum Support Prices of all agricultural commodities.
The Bill, if passed, is said to boost the morale of farmers, who would be able to live comfortably, invest in their agricultural enterprises thereby potentially increasing productivity and production to ensure national food security and sovereignty, and would be able to avoid falling into a debt trap.