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Farm Laws and the Fallout: Perspectives and Viewpoints

Farm Laws and the Fallout: Perspectives and Viewpoints
Representative image Image Credit: ANI

In late September, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent to three "Farm Laws", or the "Agriculture Bills" which went on to shake the world's largest democracy to its core as farmers feared these laws could impact their livelihood - one that is often termed the largest source of livelihoods in India. As much as 70 percent of the country's rural households still depend primarily on agriculture for their livelihood.

Farmers set out for the capital New Delhi on November 26 with a slogan – "Delhi Chalo" which translates to "Let's go to Delhi". A lot has changed since then, but what hasn't changed - the perseverance of farmers to protect their interests and the farm laws themselves - is catalyzing a change in India that reminds its citizens of the power of their voice and reflects on the global sentiment of change after the last couple of years saw massive protests in every corner of the world. In the Live Discourse, we aim to accumulate all perspectives on the farm laws and the fallout that followed, to help readers get a better sense of what's next for the sector that is the largest source of livelihood in India.

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Farm Laws and the Fallout: Perspectives and Viewpoints - Khattar urges farmers to suspend stir amid COVID

India | Devdiscourse News Desk
Updated: 14-05-2021 13:52 IST Created: 30-01-2021 09:03 IST

1:52 PM Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Thursday urged farmers to suspend their stir against farm laws amid the grim Covid-19 situation, claiming that their movements to and from dharna sites were spreading the infection in villages, news agency PTI reported. Chief Minister Khattar along with Health Minister Anil Vij also expressed exasperation over farmer leaders' reluctance to ask agitating farmers to get themselves tested for Covid-19 and treated against the infection. Urging farmers to stop their stir, Khattar said farmers may resume the agitation later if they wish, but they must stop it as of now."If they wish to restart these dharnas once the situation is under control, they are free to do so," Khattar told a news conference digitally.He said he had appealed to farmers' leaders even a month earlier to suspend their dharnas so that the disease does not spread.Referring to farmers' movement to and from dharna sites, Khattar said, "What is coming to the fore now is that because of these dharnas, this (infection) has spread." "In many villages, hotspots have emerged because their people are regularly coming and going back from dharna sites," the chief minister added.Farmers have not only been sitting in protest near the Singhu and Tikri borders but in many other parts of Haryana too.

4:29 PM Farmers in Chandigarh are waiting for the release of direct benefit transfer (DBT) payment from the Food Corporation of India (FCI), that is the transfer of payment for wheat into their accounts for payment of minimum support price (MSP), despite the Centre's keenness to immediately implement the DBT system by the respective state governments, according to a report by The Times of India.As claimed by the Centre, all the payments are supposed to be transferred in a duration of 48 hours, whereas, Satyajit Singh Thind, a farmer awaiting his payment, said to TOI that he had handed over his wheat produce to a trading company in grain market in Ludhiana earlier on May 1. “I am yet to get my payment from the FCI despite tall claims of the government of releasing payment within 48 hours,” he said.Whereas, Ramesh Kumar, the person in charge of the trading company, said that several other farmers have been waiting for their pending payments by the FCI. “One of the farmers came to me today as his payment is pending since April 28. FCI officials do not even listen to us though we submit a crossed bank cheque and copy of Aadhaar card of the farmer with farmer’s bill in time to the FCI,” Kumar said.He further said that the company has been facing delays in the collection of wheat procurement bills by FCI officials. “We are not facing payment problems from the Punjab government’s procurement agencies but only with the FCI,” Kumar said, adding that the delay was observed earlier also.However, FCI's quality inspector in Ludhiana said that the delay in the release of payments is been caused due to several reasons. "We are facing manpower shortage in office. Sometimes we also have to re-verify bank details. I have been told by senior officers that payments will be cleared in the next two days," the inspector added.

2:08 PM A large number of farmers in Hyderabad are worried over the absence of government communication on procurement for their produce of jowar (sorghum) and maize crop in the procurement season, according to a report by The Times of India. The government of the state has already set a target to purchase 80 lakh metric tonnes of paddy but no such announcement has been made for the procurement of other crops for this season.Earlier in 2020, the state government had procured maize, paddy, sunflower, and jowar among other crops. In 2021, jowar has reportedly been raised in 1.19 lakh acres and maize was cultivated in 4.66 lakh acres of land.As reported, in the open market the traders were not offering more than Rs 1,600 for a quintal of jowar and Rs 1,500 for a quintal of maize, however, the farmers have urged the government procurement authorities to start procuring per quintal of jowar and maize for Rs 2,620 and Rs 1,850 respectively. The delay in procurement by the government has been a matter of concern for these farmers as its been a month since jowar and maize was harvested by the farmers. “Last season, the government said it would not purchase maize as it had discouraged farmers not to cultivate it. However, the farmers had cultivated maize in two lakh acres and following agitations by the farmers, the government procured only 50% of the total produce,” said Anvesh Reddy, state president of All India Kisan Congress.

0:04 PM Social media posts on Thursday showed videos reportedly from farmers' protest at Singhu and Tikri border featuring tents damaged due to storm and rain last night. An Instagram user named 'Asis Kaur' shared four short videos from Singhu showing farmers at the site struggling to save tents in heavy rain while the area seemed waterlogged. View this post on InstagramA post shared by Asis Kaur (@asis_kaur)A Twitter user named 'Sandeep Singh' also shared a short video showing a 'langar' damaged due to rain at Singhu.A damaged langar hall. pic.twitter.com/rRwTmYVoex — Sandeep Singh (@PunYaab) May 13, 2021In another thread, it showed tents damaged after heavy rain.While another Twitter user named 'Vikas BKU Ugrahan' shared a video purportedly from Tikri border last night, Wednesday, featuring tents damaged at the site due to heavy rain and wind. Last night weather got bad at Tikri Border and heavy rain and wind damaged the tents. This morning life is back to normal. As our farmer says ,”We will face rain n shineBut won’t go back untill we win or die”@Doabapunjab@PunYaab@Mani_kaurB@ghasitaram53#TakeBack_FarmLawspic.twitter.com/vv1exG6Wt4 — Vikas BKU Ugrahan (@vikasbku) May 13, 2021

2:07 PM In the Muzaffarpur district of Bihar, a group of farmers destroyed their harvest of tomatoes with other green vegetables worth lakhs on Tuesday, as the low market prices being offered to them are not even covering their cost of production, according to a report by The Hindustan Times.As claimed by the farmers, the destroyed crops were grown over an area of around 35,000 square feet (50 bighas) in the district. Farmers of Ganj Bazaar and adjoining areas claimed that one kg of tomato was not even fetching the wholesale rate of Rs 1, while some other green vegetables were being sold for less than Rs 2 per kg, however, the cost to transport the tomato to market caused them more than Rs 4 for per kg. “I spent 15,000 per bigha to produce tomatoes and now I am not even getting 5000 for my produce per bigha. We have been forced to sell our produce for less than 1 per kg. Hence, we don’t have any other option left but to destroy our produce,” said Shambhu Prasad, a farmer claiming to destroy tomato harvest worth Rs 2 lakhs.The price, as reported, has been affected due to lack of vegetable demand by traders in Muzaffarpur amid COVID-19.

1:37 PM A Twitter user named 'BKU EKTA UGRAHAN' shared a two minutes video purportedly from farmers' protest at Tikri border showing a 'sanitization drive' on Wednesday.Day Two- Sanitization Drive at Tikri BorderBKU Ekta Ugrahan’s Volunteer are Sanitizing the protest site to ensure our farmers are safe and healthy. BKU Ekta Ugrahan is taking every step to fight with Covid-19 along with Anti-FarmLaws#TakeBack_FarmLaws#FarmersProtestpic.twitter.com/cVX5KzCvC2 — BKU EKTA UGRAHAN (@Bkuektaugrahan) May 12, 2021Calling it the second day of the drive, the user had earlier shared a video of sanitization on Tuesday reportedly from the 17km stretch, Tikri border. sanitization at Tikri Border,Delhi to prevent from Covid-1917KM long protest site and stage. #आंदोलन_किसानों_की_मजबूरीpic.twitter.com/mGJRnVfhaf — BKU EKTA UGRAHAN (@Bkuektaugrahan) May 11, 2021While in another video on Tuesday, it showed distribution of face masks and shields for safety of farmers protesting against center's farm laws.-> BKU Ekta Ugrahan, looking at the uncontrollable rise in Covid, is taking all the necessary steps for wellbeing and safety of our farmers. -> Face Masks and Shields are distributed. Also sanitisation at the Tikri protest site is done regularly.#आंदोलन_किसानों_की_मजबूरीpic.twitter.com/M3sVUsvnMs — BKU EKTA UGRAHAN (@Bkuektaugrahan) May 11, 2021

0:47 PM Farmer union leaders at farmers' protest at Singhu and Tikri borders have started preparing to tackle COVID-19 and any emergencies arising due to the disease, apart from issuing guidelines suggesting safety measures as more farmers reportedly join the ongoing protest, according to a report by The Indian Express.Oxygen cylinders and concentrators are also been kept at the sites to avoid any catastrophe caused by COVID-19 at the sites. “Earlier, the speeches were only about the three farm laws, but now various speakers, including the head of Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan) Joginder Singh Ugrahan, have been talking about the spread of the Covid and asking us to take proper precautions including wearing masks, maintaining distance, and hand sanitization,” said Baljit Kaur, a participant at Tikri border.Jagsir Singh, a farmer leader, said announcements to drink 'kadha' are being made 5 to 6 times a day.“We are taking care against the spread of Covid and have already made the activists aware about the things to be followed against the spread of the virus here. We have already placed an oxygen concentrator here in case of any emergency and hopefully it was not needed here as protestors are safe so far and our main focus is on that everyone should wear a mask and maintain the social distancing more,” said Daler Singh Multani, a retired Civil Surgeon at Tikri.Meanwhile, a makeshift hospital has been set up by the Sanyunkt Kisan Morcha (SKM) while several heath camps have also been set to attend people facing any ailment at the protest site at Singhu border.

10:19 AM The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of over 40 farmer unions, on Tuesday said that farmers were returning to Singhu and Tikri border protest sites after finishing harvesting their crops, news agency PTI reported on Tuesday. In a statement, the SKM said that large convoys of farmers arrived at the two border points on Monday and this will now continue. ''Yesterday, large convoys of farmers arrived on the Singhu border and Tikri border. Farmers were welcomed at many places on their way to these sites from Punjab. These farmers, who have travelled in tractors, cars and other vehicles, have made arrangements to live in tents and trolleys as they were living before harvesting,'' it said.''The farmers' strike is getting stronger and the protest sites are also becoming larger. Farmers' tents, trolleys and other vehicles have been permanently there for the last five months in long queues. The pattern of farmers coming back after the harvesting season will now continue,'' it added.The farmers' outfit said that the government was ''promoting privatisation'' even at a time when ''thousands of people have lost their lives due to the mismanagement of the public health system''.''The government should increase investment in education, health and agriculture sectors. Along with taking guarantee of the purchase and remunerative price for the crops of the farmers, the government should make a law on MSP and repeal the three anti-farmer laws immediately,'' it said.

1:04 PM From conducting disinfection drives to serving immunity-boosting 'kadha' in langars, farmers protesting at Tikri and Singhu borders in Delhi borders against the Centre's three agricultural laws are taking new steps every day to keep the deadly coronavirus at bay, news agency PTI reported on Tuesday. ''We disinfected 17-km of the protest site at the Tikri border. And will do it again in the coming days as well. We have been taking all preventive measures to stop the spread of coronavirus, including distributing masks and sanitizers to the protesting farmers,'' Roop Singh of Bharat Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) said on Tuesday.Singh claimed that the farmers have not got any support from the government in fighting against coronavirus and that all measures taken to curb the spread of the virus at the Tikri border have been taken by them only.Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at three Delhi border points -- Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur -- for almost six months, demanding a repeal of the three agri reform laws enacted by the central government in September last year.According to farmer leader Abhimanyu Kohar, each and every langar at the Singhu border is being sanitized regularly and to improve the immunity of protesting farmers, 'kadha' is also being served on a daily basis.''The langars operating round-the-clock are being sanitized regularly. To improve the immunity of farmers, they are being served with 'kadha' as well. Also, there are vaccination camps in the vicinity and whoever wants to get vaccinated is free to get the jab,'' said Kohar from Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of farmers’ unions spearheading the stir.

11:52 AM "While the farmers protesting on Delhi’s outskirts earlier this year were largely from Punjab and Haryana, the issue seems to have widespread resonance. And the appeal of the farmers’ protests is not limited just to the poor. A sizeable section of the middle class is opposed to the farm laws," writes Sanjay Kumar, a professor at CSDS, and a political analyst, for The Mint. He says that the "tide may be turning" and public opinion about farm laws might be changing, pointing to data from recent post-poll surveys conducted by the Lokniti-CSDS team show significant support for the protesting farmers across states that held elections recently.He further adds that there are "high levels of awareness about the farmers’ protests, across the four states surveyed." Read the full article here

Khattar urges farmers to suspend stir amid COVID

Khattar urges farmers to suspend stir amid COVID

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Thursday urged farmers to suspend their stir against farm laws amid the grim Covid-19 situation, claiming that their movements to and from dharna sites were spreading the infection in villages, news agency PTI reported. 

Chief Minister Khattar along with Health Minister Anil Vij also expressed exasperation over farmer leaders' reluctance to ask agitating farmers to get themselves tested for Covid-19 and treated against the infection. Urging farmers to stop their stir, Khattar said farmers may resume the agitation later if they wish, but they must stop it as of now.

"If they wish to restart these dharnas once the situation is under control, they are free to do so," Khattar told a news conference digitally.

He said he had appealed to farmers' leaders even a month earlier to suspend their dharnas so that the disease does not spread.

Referring to farmers' movement to and from dharna sites, Khattar said, "What is coming to the fore now is that because of these dharnas, this (infection) has spread." "In many villages, hotspots have emerged because their people are regularly coming and going back from dharna sites," the chief minister added.

Farmers have not only been sitting in protest near the Singhu and Tikri borders but in many other parts of Haryana too.

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In Chandigarh, farmers wait for DBT for wheat from FCI: Report

In Chandigarh, farmers wait for DBT for wheat from FCI: Report

Farmers in Chandigarh are waiting for the release of direct benefit transfer (DBT) payment from the Food Corporation of India (FCI), that is the transfer of payment for wheat into their accounts for payment of minimum support price (MSP), despite the Centre's keenness to immediately implement the DBT system by the respective state governments, according to a report by The Times of India.

As claimed by the Centre, all the payments are supposed to be transferred in a duration of 48 hours, whereas, Satyajit Singh Thind, a farmer awaiting his payment, said to TOI that he had handed over his wheat produce to a trading company in grain market in Ludhiana earlier on May 1. “I am yet to get my payment from the FCI despite tall claims of the government of releasing payment within 48 hours,” he said.

Whereas, Ramesh Kumar, the person in charge of the trading company, said that several other farmers have been waiting for their pending payments by the FCI. “One of the farmers came to me today as his payment is pending since April 28. FCI officials do not even listen to us though we submit a crossed bank cheque and copy of Aadhaar card of the farmer with farmer’s bill in time to the FCI,” Kumar said.

He further said that the company has been facing delays in the collection of wheat procurement bills by FCI officials. “We are not facing payment problems from the Punjab government’s procurement agencies but only with the FCI,” Kumar said, adding that the delay was observed earlier also.

However, FCI's quality inspector in Ludhiana said that the delay in the release of payments is been caused due to several reasons. "We are facing manpower shortage in office. Sometimes we also have to re-verify bank details. I have been told by senior officers that payments will be cleared in the next two days," the inspector added.

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Farmers concerned about lack of govt communication on procurement in Hyderabad: Report

Farmers concerned about lack of govt communication on procurement in Hyderabad: Report

A large number of farmers in Hyderabad are worried over the absence of government communication on procurement for their produce of jowar (sorghum) and maize crop in the procurement season, according to a report by The Times of India. 

The government of the state has already set a target to purchase 80 lakh metric tonnes of paddy but no such announcement has been made for the procurement of other crops for this season.

Earlier in 2020, the state government had procured maize, paddy, sunflower, and jowar among other crops. In 2021, jowar has reportedly been raised in 1.19 lakh acres and maize was cultivated in 4.66 lakh acres of land.

As reported, in the open market the traders were not offering more than Rs 1,600 for a quintal of jowar and Rs 1,500 for a quintal of maize, however, the farmers have urged the government procurement authorities to start procuring per quintal of jowar and maize for Rs 2,620 and Rs 1,850 respectively. 

The delay in procurement by the government has been a matter of concern for these farmers as its been a month since jowar and maize was harvested by the farmers.  

“Last season, the government said it would not purchase maize as it had discouraged farmers not to cultivate it. However, the farmers had cultivated maize in two lakh acres and following agitations by the farmers, the government procured only 50% of the total produce,” said Anvesh Reddy, state president of All India Kisan Congress.

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Social media posts show damage due to heavy rain at protest sites

Social media posts on Thursday showed videos reportedly from farmers' protest at Singhu and Tikri border featuring tents damaged due to storm and rain last night. 

An Instagram user named 'Asis Kaur' shared four short videos from Singhu showing farmers at the site struggling to save tents in heavy rain while the area seemed waterlogged. 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Asis Kaur (@asis_kaur)

A Twitter user named 'Sandeep Singh' also shared a short video showing a 'langar' damaged due to rain at Singhu.

In another thread, it showed tents damaged after heavy rain.

While another Twitter user named 'Vikas BKU Ugrahan' shared a video purportedly from Tikri border last night, Wednesday, featuring tents damaged at the site due to heavy rain and wind. 

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Farmers destroy harvest worth lakhs in Bihar due to inadequate market prices: Report

Farmers destroy harvest worth lakhs in Bihar due to inadequate market prices: Report

In the Muzaffarpur district of Bihar, a group of farmers destroyed their harvest of tomatoes with other green vegetables worth lakhs on Tuesday, as the low market prices being offered to them are not even covering their cost of production, according to a report by The Hindustan Times.

As claimed by the farmers, the destroyed crops were grown over an area of around 35,000 square feet (50 bighas) in the district. 

Farmers of Ganj Bazaar and adjoining areas claimed that one kg of tomato was not even fetching the wholesale rate of Rs 1, while some other green vegetables were being sold for less than Rs 2 per kg, however, the cost to transport the tomato to market caused them more than Rs 4 for per kg. 

“I spent 15,000 per bigha to produce tomatoes and now I am not even getting 5000 for my produce per bigha. We have been forced to sell our produce for less than 1 per kg. Hence, we don’t have any other option left but to destroy our produce,” said Shambhu Prasad, a farmer claiming to destroy tomato harvest worth Rs 2 lakhs.

The price, as reported, has been affected due to lack of vegetable demand by traders in Muzaffarpur amid COVID-19.

READ MORE ON : MSPFarm Laws
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Social media post shows 'sanitization drive' at Tikri

A Twitter user named 'BKU EKTA UGRAHAN' shared a two minutes video purportedly from farmers' protest at Tikri border showing a 'sanitization drive' on Wednesday.

Calling it the second day of the drive, the user had earlier shared a video of sanitization on Tuesday reportedly from the 17km stretch, Tikri border. 

While in another video on Tuesday, it showed distribution of face masks and shields for safety of farmers protesting against center's farm laws.

 

 

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Farmer leaders prepare to curb COVID-19 spread as more farmers join protest: Report

Farmer leaders prepare to curb COVID-19 spread as more farmers join protest: Report

Farmer union leaders at farmers' protest at Singhu and Tikri borders have started preparing to tackle COVID-19 and any emergencies arising due to the disease, apart from issuing guidelines suggesting safety measures as more farmers reportedly join the ongoing protest, according to a report by The Indian Express.

Oxygen cylinders and concentrators are also been kept at the sites to avoid any catastrophe caused by COVID-19 at the sites. 

“Earlier, the speeches were only about the three farm laws, but now various speakers, including the head of Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan) Joginder Singh Ugrahan, have been talking about the spread of the Covid and asking us to take proper precautions including wearing masks, maintaining distance, and hand sanitization,” said Baljit Kaur, a participant at Tikri border.

Jagsir Singh, a farmer leader, said announcements to drink 'kadha' are being made 5 to 6 times a day.

“We are taking care against the spread of Covid and have already made the activists aware about the things to be followed against the spread of the virus here. We have already placed an oxygen concentrator here in case of any emergency and hopefully it was not needed here as protestors are safe so far and our main focus is on that everyone should wear a mask and maintain the social distancing more,” said Daler Singh Multani, a retired Civil Surgeon at Tikri.

Meanwhile, a makeshift hospital has been set up by the Sanyunkt Kisan Morcha (SKM) while several heath camps have also been set to attend people facing any ailment at the protest site at Singhu border. 

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SKM says farmers returning to protest sites with end of harvest season

SKM says farmers returning to protest sites with end of harvest season

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of over 40 farmer unions, on Tuesday said that farmers were returning to Singhu and Tikri border protest sites after finishing harvesting their crops, news agency PTI reported on Tuesday. 

In a statement, the SKM said that large convoys of farmers arrived at the two border points on Monday and this will now continue. ''Yesterday, large convoys of farmers arrived on the Singhu border and Tikri border. Farmers were welcomed at many places on their way to these sites from Punjab. These farmers, who have travelled in tractors, cars and other vehicles, have made arrangements to live in tents and trolleys as they were living before harvesting,'' it said.

''The farmers' strike is getting stronger and the protest sites are also becoming larger. Farmers' tents, trolleys and other vehicles have been permanently there for the last five months in long queues. The pattern of farmers coming back after the harvesting season will now continue,'' it added.

The farmers' outfit said that the government was ''promoting privatisation'' even at a time when ''thousands of people have lost their lives due to the mismanagement of the public health system''.

''The government should increase investment in education, health and agriculture sectors. Along with taking guarantee of the purchase and remunerative price for the crops of the farmers, the government should make a law on MSP and repeal the three anti-farmer laws immediately,'' it said.

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Farmers take COVID-19 safety measures at protest sites

Farmers take COVID-19 safety measures at protest sites

From conducting disinfection drives to serving immunity-boosting 'kadha' in langars, farmers protesting at Tikri and Singhu borders in Delhi borders against the Centre's three agricultural laws are taking new steps every day to keep the deadly coronavirus at bay, news agency PTI reported on Tuesday. 

''We disinfected 17-km of the protest site at the Tikri border. And will do it again in the coming days as well. We have been taking all preventive measures to stop the spread of coronavirus, including distributing masks and sanitizers to the protesting farmers,'' Roop Singh of Bharat Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) said on Tuesday.

Singh claimed that the farmers have not got any support from the government in fighting against coronavirus and that all measures taken to curb the spread of the virus at the Tikri border have been taken by them only.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at three Delhi border points -- Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur -- for almost six months, demanding a repeal of the three agri reform laws enacted by the central government in September last year.

According to farmer leader Abhimanyu Kohar, each and every langar at the Singhu border is being sanitized regularly and to improve the immunity of protesting farmers, 'kadha' is also being served on a daily basis.

''The langars operating round-the-clock are being sanitized regularly. To improve the immunity of farmers, they are being served with 'kadha' as well. Also, there are vaccination camps in the vicinity and whoever wants to get vaccinated is free to get the jab,'' said Kohar from Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of farmers’ unions spearheading the stir.

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'Sizeable section of the middle class is opposed to the farm laws'

'Sizeable section of the middle class is opposed to the farm laws'

"While the farmers protesting on Delhi’s outskirts earlier this year were largely from Punjab and Haryana, the issue seems to have widespread resonance. And the appeal of the farmers’ protests is not limited just to the poor. A sizeable section of the middle class is opposed to the farm laws," writes Sanjay Kumar, a professor at CSDS, and a political analyst, for The Mint. He says that the "tide may be turning" and public opinion about farm laws might be changing, pointing to data from recent post-poll surveys conducted by the Lokniti-CSDS team show significant support for the protesting farmers across states that held elections recently.

He further adds that there are "high levels of awareness about the farmers’ protests, across the four states surveyed." Read the full article here.

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