Why are India’s farmers revolting against PM Modi


EXPLAINER: Why farmers in India are rebelling against PM Modi

By SHEIKH SAALIQ

January 27, 2021 GMT

New Delhi (AP) – The sea of ​​thousands of farmers riding on tractors and horses stormed India’s historic Red Fort this week. – A dramatic expansion of his protest, which is a major challenge for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

AP explains what’s at the heart of two-month performances And what does this mean for the Modi government?

What is protection?

Most of the protesters are farmers from the states of North Punjab and Haryana, the two largest agricultural producers. They are demanding repeal of laws passed by Parliament in September that they say will favor large corporate farms, destroy the earnings of many farmers and win over large corporations that leave small corporations behind. Modi has called the laws necessary for modernization of Indian farming.

Due to the demographics of Punjab and Haryana, many protesters in New Delhi are from the minority Sikh religion of India, although their complaints are not religious but rooted in economic issues. Protests are also taking place among Indians of other backgrounds in other parts of the country.

In recent weeks, people who are not farmers have also joined in, and protests erupted in November when farmers tried to march in New Delhi, but were stopped by police. Since then, he has promised to hunk on the edge of the city until the laws are repealed.

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What is theirs?

At the center of these protests is the fear of Indian farmers that the government’s move to implement market reforms in the agricultural sector will make them poorer – at a time when they are already disappointed at their dwindling dominance as the government aims to make India a center Change for global corporations.

The new law is unclear as to whether the government will continue to guarantee prices for certain essential crops – a system introduced in the 1960s to help India reduce its food reserves and prevent shortcomings was.

While the government has said that it is ready to pledge prices will continue to be guaranteed, farmers are skeptical and want new laws that say such prices are their legal rights.

Farmers also fear that the law indicates the government is moving away from a system in which the overwhelming majority of farmers sell only to government-approved markets. They worry that this will leave them at the mercy of corporations who have no legal obligation to pay them a guaranteed price.

The government argues that it is designed to give farmers more options to sell their produce.

Clauses of the law also prohibit farmers from preventing contract disputes in courts, they have no independent means of redress other than government-appointed bureaucrats.

These perceived threats to their income frighten India’s farmers, who are mostly small: 68% of people with less than 1 hectare of land are shocked. In some states, farming families earn an average of only 20,000 rupees ($ 271) a year. ___

Why are they indicating this problem?

Farmers form the most influential polling booths in India – and are often as romantic as the heart and soul of the nation.

Politicians have long considered it unwise to isolate them, and farmers are also particularly important to Modi’s base. Northern Haryana and some other states have a substantial peasant population ruled by their party.

Since the law was passed, the Modi government has lost two political coalition partners and some of its leaders are warning them to tread carefully.

The protest against the Modi government is the largest since it first came to power in 2014. They have come at a time when the country’s economy has improved, social conflicts have escalated, protests against certain discriminatory laws, and the government has been questioned over its response to the coronovirus epidemic.

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What is the government saying?

The Modi government says that the law will benefit farmers by promoting production through private investment.

The government has offered to amend the laws and suspend their implementation for 18 months – but this has not satisfied the farmers who want complete repeal.

The Modi government also initially tried to discredit Sikh farmers by dismissing their concerns, inspired by religious nationalism. Some leaders in Modi’s party called him “Khalistanis”, a movement referenced to an independent Sikh homeland called “Khalistan” which was in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Under Modi, India has witnessed a rising tide of Hindu nationalism that has ranked minority groups, mostly Muslims. Some leaders of Modi’s party and India’s freewheeling TV channel, who have long favored the government’s Hindu nationalist policies, have called the farmers “anti-nationals”, often a label for criticizing Modi or his policies. Are being given.

But such allegations are further enraging farmers, whose family members are in the Indian Army, police and civil service. Since then, ordinary citizens also joined them, and protests gathered strength.

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What is this for MODI?

While this is a major challenge for his government, Modi’s popularity is still growing and his approval rating remains high due to his Hindu-nationalist policies.

Many agriculture experts agree that reforms are needed in the Indian agriculture sector, but they question how the Modi government introduced laws and corporate participation in agriculture.

Devinder Sharma, an agricultural expert said, “Leaving farmers at the mercy of markets will be like a death sentence for them.” “We’re talking about the people who feed us.”

Critics also highlight that they see the Modi government’s trend through reforms without consensus. When laws were passed in Parliament, Modi’s party refused to pursue a debate on this despite repeated requests from the opposition. It also refused to refer the laws to a special committee, where members could discuss them further.

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