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Farmers' organisations seek enactment of Freedom from Debt Bill, Guaranteed Fair and Remunerative Prices Bill

Joe C Mathew     May 30, 2018

All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), a coalition of 193 farmers' organisations from across the country, will lobby for the enactment of two private bills - Farmers' Freedom from Debt Bill and Guaranteed Fair and Remunerative Prices Bill - to ensure comprehensive debt relief to farmers and remunerative prices for the farm produce in the forthcoming session of the Parliament.

The Bills, submitted by Parliamentarians Raju Shetti and K K Ragesh in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha respectively, have the support of 21 political parties. The AIKSCC has also submitted the Bills to President Ram Nath Kovind and requested him to call for a special session of the Parliament to discuss the agrarian crisiss and pass these bills.

"We now intend to meet all Members of Parliament in their own constituencies, to ensure their support when the Bills get listed for discussion and passing during the upcoming monsoon session", stated AIKSCC leaders.

"The President was positive. In our meeting with the President, we explained to him that this is the very first time in our history that farmers have created two Bills for, by and of farmers, that too after elaborate consultations. We also brought up the fact that there is a precedent with regard to a special session when the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee convened a special session of the Parliament in December 2003 to discuss the sugarcane crisis in the country in the light of the death of 3 sugarcane farmers in Manderva, Basti district of Uttar Pradesh. If we can have a special midnight session for GST, why not for addressing farmers' crisis?" they said.

AIKSCC was formed on June 16 th last year, as a response to the repression of farmers' spontaneous movements in different states in 2017. After fine tuning the two Bills along with leaders of different political parties in the month of April 2018, both were submitted as private members bills in both the Upper and Lower Houses of the Parliament.

On May 10, 2018, with lakhs of farmers signing on, memoranda addressed to the Lok Sabha Speaker and Rajya Sabha Chairperson were submitted to district collectors in different states of the country, asking for an early discussion and passing of these Bills.

In the press conference on May 29, AIKSCC leaders demanded drastic reduction in the input costs in farming. They pointed out that rise in diesel prices is breaking the back of farmers. They also condemned the inaction of Uttar Pradesh government in addressing the non-payment of dues owed to cane farmers, which led to the death of a protestor.

AIKSCC has planned a three day programme to mark the first anniversary of the killing of six farmers in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh in 2017.

The press conference was addressed by VM Singh, Raju Shetti, Hannan Mollah, Atul Kumar Anjan, Dr. Sunilam, Prem Singh Gehlawat, Jagmohan Singh, Avik Saha and Yogendra Yadav.

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