Group of academicians seeks repeal of new farm laws

New Delhi: Over 400 academicians from across the country and several universities abroad have urged the central government to immediately abandon the three new farm reform laws which they said "pose a major threat to farming communities all over India". In a joint statement issued on Wednesday, the academicians have expressed concerns about the ongoing farmers' protests and their suffering at the borders of Delhi.

Last month, over 850 academicians from various educational institutions across the country had signed an open letter backing the legislations.

The 400-odd academicians in their statement said, "The three new laws that have been enacted by the government are aimed at bringing in fundamental changes in the way farming will be done in the country and they pose a major threat to farming communities all over India."

"The government must re-look at these issues. A nationwide debate should be launched starting at the village level, involving stakeholders from all sections of society before framing laws and policies which will help farming communities and other marginalised communities in the long-term. To pave the way for solving farmers issues, the current laws should be abandoned without any further delay," it added.

The 413 signatories to the statement include academicians from universities and institutions including Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jadavpur University, IIT Kanpur, IIT Madras, IISc Bangalore, Indian Statistical Institute Kolkata, Delhi University, Panjab University, Tezpur University, Central university of Punjab, IIT Bombay and IIM Calcutta.

A few signatories are from foreign universities including University of Zagreb, Croatia; London Film School, University of Johannesburg, University of Oslo, University of Massachusetts and University of Pittsburgh.

The academicians recommended that farming could be made into a sustainable and profitable activity by announcing minimum support price (MSP) for a large number of crops, specifying state-wise quotas for government procurement, and making the MSP rate legally binding for all other buyers as well.

The statement also called for price control on farm inputs such as manure, seeds and power, farm loan waivers, and a revival of the village-based development model so that migration to cities could be curtailed.

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