What are the methods used by the Farmers organizations to influence the policy- makers in India and how effective are these methods?
Farmers organisations refer to group of farmers who are organised to protect their own interests related to issues like minimum support price, subsidies, welfare schemes for farmers etc.
Ex: Bharathiya kisan Sabha, shetkari sangatan, Karnataka raitha Sangha etc..
Farmers organisations, being a pressure group,follows different types of protests to influence policy makers:
- Lobbying: here they influence policy makers through providing information on their demands and grievances. For example: Due to protests by Dairy Farmers, KMF increased the Rate of Milk by Rs.2 per liter.
- Protests and rallies: here they mobilise huge number of farmers and conduct rallies on a large scale to let the people understand their demands. For example: protests by farmers in Maharashtra last year to increase msp rates, pension schemes for farmers, implement swaminathan committee recommendations etc.
- Satyagrahas and fast unto death protests: farmers normally resort to these protests when their moderate protests didn’t satisfy their demands. For example protests by Tamil Nadu farmers in the national capital last year.
- Sometimes they resort to other types of protests like throwing their crops on the road in case of low prices, blocking railways etc.
Effectiveness of these methods
- It depends on a lot of factors like the genuineness of the problem, Impact of market on their livelihood, financial implications on satisfying their demands, unity within these organisations etc.
For instance, in case of protests by Tamil Nadu farmers their demands were not met as central government wanted state governments to settle their grievances.
- Demands by farmers across the country to implement MS Swaminathan committee recommendations are not yet implemented.
- Demands for loan waiver will be accepted especially during election times as it is a popular issue .It happened in case of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharastra etc.
- In some cases, farmers’ demands were met very quickly.
For example: Protests by farmers in Punjab against case filed by PEPSICO on patent related issues was quickly withdrawn by the company.
Farmer’s organizations certainly play a huge role in acting as true representative of farmers problems to the policy makers. However unfortunately, their effectiveness has been limited due to various reasons.