Poor prospects in upcoming state polls may have driven Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to repeal farm laws. Here’s what a cross-section of farmers in the state say about the decision. “This is a victory for farmers who protested on a sustained basis. If we struggle for just demands with sustained effort we can win. The repeal will benefit farmers as well as consumers,” says Pamayan who agrees the decision was taken because of impending polls.
Pamayan adds that this move doesn’t solve farmers’ problems. Not just labour and input costs, the minimum support price for agricultural produce should take into account land cost as well as management cost. “Our agriculture is oriented towards the market. Instead it should be driven by need. Policies should ensure this,” he said.
Organic farming enthusiast Arachalur Selvam says farmers had protested in biting cold, blazing summer heat and rain. The prime minister has said the laws have flaws. He wondered why it took him nearly a year to realize this and said the timing of the decision showed the true drivers. Selvam says the laws may be brought back in some other form and adds people will have to be watchful.
Arulpragasam, a farmer in Madurai, says many farmers died during the protests but that didn’t make the prime minister repeal the laws. He adds that a government that works for big corporate houses cannot work for farmers. Explaining the lack of interest in protests in Tamil Nadu, Arulpragasam says unlike north India where middlemen play a big role, in Tamil Nadu, farmers are free to sell their produce where they want although here also middlemen are there.
Explaining the lack of interest in protests in Tamil Nadu, Arulpragasam says unlike north India where middlemen play a big role, in Tamil Nadu, farmers are free to sell their produce where they want although here also middlemen are there.
Farmers from the state did participate in the Delhi protests. But it was not practical for too many from here to go all the way there, says farming enthusiast Kumaraswamy, adding that Parliament will have to be convened to repeal the laws.
V Ravichandran, who wrote in inmathi supporting farm laws, says that it is wrong to repeal such important laws for political and election purposes. “Laws passed by our elected representatives should not be repealed for the sake of a section of farmers. There will be no end if we keep repealing laws to satisfy one section or the other,” he adds.