Most Members On Supreme Court-Appointed Panel Have Supported Farm Laws, Called Protests Misguided

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Most Members On Supreme Court-Appointed Panel Have Supported Farm Laws, Called Protests 'Misguided'

The farmers' leaders, however, have rejected the committee formed by the top court claiming all its members were 'pro-farm laws'.

The Supreme Court-appointed four-member committee to resolve the deadlock between protesting farmer unions and the government over three new farm laws constitutes pro-farm reform voices, India Today reported.

The farmers' leaders, however, have rejected the committee formed by the top court claiming all its members were 'pro-farm laws'.

Announcing that they will not participate in any SC-ordered committee process, the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee has said the members of the committee named by the court "are people who are known for their support to the three Acts and have actively advocated for the same".

Three of the four members in the committee believe that the agitated farmers are misguided and that the farm laws will benefit the farmers. There is no voice in the panel that can address the concerns raised by farmers.

Among other members, Anil Ghanawat is the president of Shetkari Sanghatan (SS), a farmers' organisation in Maharashtra. Ghanawat is an advocate of farm laws introduced by the Modi government at the Centre.

Another member in the committee, Bhupinder Singh Mann, the ex-Rajya Sabha MP from Punjab and national president of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Mann), had suggested amendments in the farm laws to address concerns of the farmers in September last year.

Other two members include Dr Ashok Gulati, an agronomist and Dr Pramod Kumar Joshi, a leading agri scientist. Both are strong supporters of the three farm reforms by Centre.

The top court on Tuesday, after putting the farm laws' on hold, formed a four-member panel to address the grievances of the protesting farmers and end the deadlock between the farmers and the centre. The committee will submit its report to the SC on the same within two months.

Following are the four members of the committee:

Anil Ghanwat, President, Shetkari Saghathan

Anil Ghanwat, a farmer union representative in the committee, is the President of the Shetkar Sanghatan founded by late Sharad Joshi. Ghanwat had openly supported the government's farm laws. In December 2020, Shetkari Sanghathan had warned that if the government withdraws the laws, no political party will ever dare to bring reforms in the agricultural sector in future.

"As per the demands by the agitating farmers, the APMC and MSP systems will continue and there is no reason for the agitation," Ghanwat had said.

On January 13, Ghanwat said that the "protesting farmers will get justice."

"This movement should stop somewhere and a law should be made in the interest of farmers. First we need to listen to farmers, if they have any misconception about Minimum Support Price (MSP) and Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), we will clear it, they need to be assured that whatever is happening is in their interest," Ghanwat said.

Bhupinder Singh Mann, President, BKU (Mann)

Punjab-based farmer union leader Bhupinder Singh Mann is the chairman of BKU (Mann) and the All India Kisan Coordination Committee (AIKCC).

The members of AIKCC had met Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar in December last year and submitted a memorandum supporting the farm laws with some amendments. It had suggested that states, where farmers are protesting, should be kept out of the farm reforms ambit and be implemented in all other states.

Bhupinder Singh Mann, however, had written to PM Modi in September last requesting him to implement changes in the three farm laws.

Dr Ashok Gulati, Renowned Agronomist

An agricultural economist, Dr Ashok Gulati is also a former chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), the advisory body of the centre on food supplies and pricing policies.

Dr Gulati is a strong supporter of farm reforms.

In one of his articles, Dr Gulati stated that the farm laws are a step in the right direction and argued that the reforms will help in improving price realisation for the farmers.

Dr Pramod Kumar Joshi, Renowned Agri Scientist

Superannuated Director (South Asia) of International Food Policy Research Institute, Dr Pramod Kumar Joshi is an agri scientist and a strong supporter of farm reforms.

On farmer unions' demand for a legal guarantee on MSP, Dr Joshi said that prices are determined by the interplay between demand, supply and global prices and it is impossible to have legally-guaranteed prices.

Dr Joshi is also a strong supporter of contract farming and has said that the farmers who are part of the protest are a victim of misinformation and that the centre should build effective communication strategy to build trust in a campaign mode.

Meanwhile, Former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha, who was asked to head the committee, refused the offer. "I declined the offer to head the panel," Justice (retd) Lodha said.

Also Read: Supreme Court Puts Three Farm Laws On Hold

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