Other demands include farmers' income – which includes Farmers Income Guarantee Act /Farmers Income Commission, fair remunerative prices of crops and minimum assured income and Sustainable technologies –NO TO GMO's yes to Agroecology (agricultural science that valorizes farmers local innovations, natures own processes and traditional knowledge),
They are opposing all the new legal frameworks that are against food and farmers sovereignty - no to free trade, no FDI in retail, no commodity and futures trading in agriculture, create universal PDS and support local farmers. They want to stop farmer suicides – acknowledge them and provide fair relief and rehabilitation to victims, recognize women farmer's suicides and conduct special parliament sessions on farmers suicides.
Explaining the urgent need for such a stir, Medha Patkar of Narmada Bachao Andolan and others pointed out that the finance minister P Chidambaram, Finance Minister, in his budget speech talked about spreading the gains of the Green Revolution to Eastern States but also acknowledged the stagnation and loss in fertility and other ills in Punjab and other states and accordingly made allocation for crop diversification.
But, they asked, why is the same scheme not spread out to other states, why would one wait for the same problems to manifest and then start the same prescriptions. According to them, the state of Indian agriculture and Indian farmers are critical today. It is not only due to farmers suicide (16,000 to 17,000 year) but those alive are also not better off. The changes proposed by the Finance Minister are cosmetic and will have no impact on the state of agriculture.
They warned that the focus on urbanisation, industrialisation and infrastructure will not be able to absorb the large work force which is currently engaged in agrarian sector. They will be worse off, than what they are today. With a huge population base, the push for contract and commercial farming, the food security and employment will be jeopardised.
We strongly feel that there is a need for separate Agriculture Budget to be presented on lines of Railway Budget, every year, which looks at issues comprehensively and makes a sincere effort at addressing the crisis.
The scourge of land acquisition continues to haunt the farmers and the new bill, Right to Fair Compensation, Transparency in Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill, will not provide any relief to them. The Bill neglects the Parliamentary Standing Committee recommendation that no agricultural land should be acquired.
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