30 November 2020   1 comment

Farmers in India have been protesting for a number of weeks against new regulations proposed by the Indian central government. The Guardian reports:

“The farmers are protesting against a series of agricultural laws that see the deregulation of crop pricing, including the removal of guaranteed minimum crop price, which farmers say will leave them at the mercy of big corporations. The government has argued that the laws are necessary reforms that give farmers more autonomy over the selling of their crops and will break big unfair monopolies.

“Though farmers’ unions have been protesting in Punjab for the past two months, holding marches and blocking roads and train lines, they said they were organising the march to Delhi to force the government’s hand. Unions want to repeal the laws, which they say are anti-farmer and pro-corporate interests.

“Farming is one of the biggest employers in India, with more than 40% of the population working in agriculture.

The farmers have encircled the capital city of New Delhi and clogged highways and bridges with their tractors and trucks. The New York Times outlines the logic of this strategy:

“The Modi administration has indicated that it will not talk to the protesting farmers unless they move to a fairground on New Delhi’s outskirts and stop blocking the highways.

“But the farmers have said that they will not move their tractors or trailers until negotiations start. They are digging in, resupplying themselves with food, fuel, firewood and medical supplies to stay put for weeks.

“’Now we have leverage,’” said Ramandeep Singh Mann, a farmers’ rights activist, who gazed across the protest zone on Monday afternoon with a look of pride. ‘If we go to those fairgrounds, we will lose it.’”

Prathamesh Mulye, writing in Quartz, points out that the Indian economy is suffering greatly from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic: “In the September quarter, India’s economy contracted by 7.5% year-on-year, pushing the country into a recession. Among the major economies of the world, only the UK and Spain shrunk sharper than India.” The recession makes it very difficult for the government to respond effectively and there is little likelihood that the welfare of farmers will improve any time soon. India is actually doing far better than the US in dealing with the pandemic, but it still has had a major effect on the Indian economy.

Posted November 30, 2020 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

One response to “30 November 2020

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  1. Pingback: 6 February 2021 | World Politics News

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