While many misled farmers protest at the outskirts of the national capital against the Modi government’s new farm laws, Former Karnataka cadre IPS officer K Annamalai has taken to Twitter to share his encounter with a cab driver, who incidentally is also a farmer from Punjab. In a thread of Tweets, the BJP leader narrates his conversation with the taxi driver, where the latter talks about how the new farm laws brought by the Modi government is actually beneficial for the farmers and expresses his vexation over the ongoing protests.
He explains how contrary to the apprehensions, the new agriculture laws are actually in the farmers’ interest.
I’m in Delhi today and the first thing my cab driver said when asked about the protests in the name of farmers is this – ‘I’m a farmer and I completely support these acts. Its sickening to see protests of this sort’.— K.Annamalai (@annamalai_k) December 10, 2020
When probed further, I could hear these things evidently.
“I’m a farmer and I completely support these acts. It’s sickening to see protests of this sort”, said the cab driver to the BJP leader.
According to K Annamalai, the driver had shifted to Delhi a few years back as he couldn’t make any living out of agriculture. Now slowly and steadily he is alternating between driving a cab and farming back home, informed the former IPS officer, furthering that the driver is now getting the confidence to return to farming for the first time.
In his next few Tweets, Annamalai pens down the reasons which has helped the can driver regain his confidence in the agricultural sector.
Firstly, the inputs costs on agriculture have gone down, the cab driver told the BJP leader. The cost of fertiliser and seed have drastically decreased. Soil health cards are available. The Government is providing an insurance cover in case the crops fail. Modi Government has been granting Rs 6,00 to all small-term farmers like him, which is being directly transferred to their bank accounts.
Secondly, due to the provisions in the new farm laws, farmers like him would get rid of ‘local uncle’ who acts as the Arhtiya – commision agent. They would have the freedom to sell their produce any where, anytime and to anybody.
The cab driver explained that currently, nobody gets paid at the Minimum Support Price (MSP) in his state. This is for two reasons. Firstly, the farmers are having to pay 6 per cent to the mandi which gets deducted from their accounts. The first 3 per cent is for mandi commission and the rest is for local development tax. The current politics, he said, is over this and on the additional 2.5 per cent Arthiya commission extra, lamented the can driver.
3.Nobody gets paid MSP in his state. This is for two reasons. They pay 3%+3% to the mandi and that is detected from their account. The first 3% for mandi commision and the other for local development tax. The current politics is over this and on the 2.5% Arthiya commision extra— K.Annamalai (@annamalai_k) December 10, 2020
The BJP leader said that the cab driver divulged how these Arhtiyas or the commission agents, who are a complex set of system created by the Punjab state, act as facilitators between the mandi and the buying house and exploit farmers by making stringent rules regulating the sale of the farmers’ produce. These Arthiyas are economically very powerful. With the new farm laws in place, these commission agents would suffer the most and that is why they are going all out to protect themselves and their turf, said the driver.
Speaking about the ongoing protests where misinformed farmers continue to protest against Central government’s new farm laws, assuming that the new laws mean that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) would be abolished, the cab driver opined that centring the protest around MSP would not lead the farmers anywhere.
The driver then went on to explain how under the new laws, the government has increased the scope for the farmers. Under the new farm laws, around 21 agricultural produces have been brought under MSP, whereas, until 2014, only 3 agricultural produce were included. In fact, this govt is widening the MSP net in two ways – bringing more products under MSP and increasing the support price as well, the BJP leader quoted the cab driver as saying.
5.Keeping MSP as the centre of the protests will not take them anywhere. From 3 agricultural produce in 2014, 21 farmer produces are covered now. In fact this govt is widening the MSP net in two ways – bringing more products under MSP and increasing the support price as well.— K.Annamalai (@annamalai_k) December 10, 2020
“In short what the previous governments have done is to insult farming and to make farmers to feel lowly about them selves. Dole Outs will take a back seat and farming for the first time after Indian independence will see youngsters and others taking up willingly, Tweeted K Annamalai.
Congress instigating farmers by peddling blatant lie that MSP will be abolished
It almost becomes imperative to note here that opposition parties, especially the Congress has been consistently misleading the farmers in Punjab by sharing some blatant and outright lies against the new farmer laws. Amongst other things, the Congress has been instigating the farmers that the central government, through its news farm laws, would abolish the Minimum Support Price (MSP). Which is an outright lie as seen by recent procurement of Kharif crops as per MSP.
The farmers have been, in turn, agitating at the outskirts of the national capital against Modi government’s farm laws assuming that the new laws mean that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) would be abolished.
Mandis will remain, MSP will be unaffected: Modi government
The central government has clarified a number of times that they are neither abolishing Mandis not repealing MSPs. Both the claims are lies. In fact, the Congress, in its own 2019 election manifesto, had promised to abolish the APMC Act altogether. However, the Modi government has only amended the APMC Act.
Modi government has not repealed the APMC Act in its entirety. The new laws passed by the current dispensation provides the farmers with an additional avenue to sell their produce besides the state-run Mandis. The provisions in the bills exempt transactions done outside the physical premises of APMC (agricultural produce market committee) Mandis from any “market fee or cess or levy” imposed by state governments.
PM Modi, government ministers and BJP leaders have asserted time and again that MSPs will continue. Rahul Gandhi and Congress, however, have been peddling the same lies again and again.
As the government is neither abolishing Mandis nor taking back the MSPs, the claims about Mandi workers being jobless and MSPs being repealed are thus completely false.
In fact, the Congress is opposing the very same reforms that it has been promising to the farmers over the years.