Recently, we’ve probably all seen the Instagram stories captioned with the “Farmer’s Protest in India” or read something similar on the news. This article covers the protest, the rationale behind it, and why farmers in India are troubled by new legislation. The legislation that was passed involved three laws that were enacted by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi . These laws were meant to increase freedom and sustainability, but have instead harmed farmers. Many are concerned about product prices, along with being exploited and used.
In the past, India used to provide a Minimum Support Pricing (MSP) plan that provided farmers with a “cushion” and insurance plan to fall back on in case of a decline in farming prices. However, many are now fearful of the government reducing MSP procurement as this could in turn impact production, prices, and jeopardize the economy in the long run. A lot of concern that these hardworking farmers have expressed relates to the first law that was enacted – this was solely concerned with MSP plans and the repercussions that can result.
The second law, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill involves another important consideration –pricing. What used to be fixed prices set by the government, has now been changed to “negotiation contracts” which once again jeopardizes their livelihoods. The last bill, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, involves a modernization component. Many crops and products, such as oilseeds, onions, cereals, etc., are being removed from essential commodities. The irony is that farmers are given the freedom to produce their products, along with distributing said products – despite this being far from the truth.
These rules have caused many farmers to feel hurt, frightened, and betrayed by the Indian government. Although the government and Modi claim these rules give these farmers more freedom, it actually results in big companies driving down prices (or causing farmers to struggle if they aren’t able to meet minimum prices).
Unfortunately, due to child labour and inhumane practices in India many children work on farms from early ages, thereby avoiding school to help out with their families livelihood. With these new laws many children and families will be more affected by poverty, and suffer more than they are already suffering. Farmers have been protesting for months and many have been affected by violent protest with 248 deaths having occurred. Although the laws have been suspended for 12-18 months to reach some sort of compromise with the farmers, many are still not happy with this and demand a full repealing of these laws. In the end important questions remain unanswered:
Why wasn’t Western media covering this important issue?
Are there any similarities between these protests in India and BLM protests which also resulted in Black citizens being silenced?
Why were there deaths caused by farmers advocating for their human rights?
Why didn’t farmers originally get a say in these laws being passed – especially when it concerned their livelihood?