Farmers Protest: Terms of Reference

   Posted by: aman   in Other

Day 371

Toll 690

Terms of Reference

After the formal but undemocratic repeal of farm laws and some other demands being met, the issue of Minimum Support Price stands. The government has announced a committee to look into MSP and invited five Samyukt Kisan Morcha leaders to be part of it.

However, SKM says they are not clear on what would be the mandate and Terms of Reference of such a committee. Text book stuff: when any panel or committee is set up, the Terms of Reference need to be defined. The dictionary describes Terms of Reference as ‘the instructions given to someone when they are asked to consider or investigate a particular subject, telling them what they must deal with and what they can ignore’.

The reason I called the repeal undemocratic is because they were repealed as swiftly as they were implemented. In 8 minutes, without any discussion. In fact, if you notice PM Modi’s announcement to repeal on November 19th, it was done without the union cabinet clearance. The cabinet clearance came later. Through all these events – announcement, clearance, formal repeal – one aspect is clear: the government does not care and does not want to follow due democratic protests.

But then there are people, the protesting farmers, who are keen that a duly elected government follow democratic process. Hence the insistence on Terms of Reference of the committee of MSP. Let the government lay down the mandate in unmistakeable terms.

I sense that would be an uphill task for the government because no Sangh shakha has trained them for rigour, for due diligence, and to abide by the Constitution. In fact, the very raison d’etre of this government and its actions show they do not care for rules and believe a brute majority is reason enough to indulge in their fancies.

But the farmers are infinitely wise. They know how to de-weed their fields. They are now demonstrating their skills by asking the government to demonstrate its intention – a case where the people are teaching the government how to govern.

Herein is another lesson for democracy.

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