Earlier this week, Indian farmers, angry at new farmer laws that they say are destroying their livelihoods began a sit-in near the parliament in New Delhi, renewing their call for Repeal of the controversial laws. The farmer’s protest is one of many happening across the country, as farmers from different regions are fighting to get better conditions in the agricultural sector. The recent increases in the price of various farm products have made it hard for smallholders to feed themselves and pay for their daily expenses. These price increases are the result of supply and demand. The government has tried to counter this by changing the farming laws so that farmers do not face financial ruin due to a lack of supply.
According to the Indian farmers, the new laws have made it impossible for them to earn a living because they cannot buy the seeds or equipment to produce food. The new farmer’s rights act has made it difficult for the farmer to access land for cultivation or repair their own machinery, so they will have to rely on the local administration for help. The Act has made it mandatory for all rural villages to have one police officer for one villager, which only complicates matters further. According to the farmers, this is the main reason why the government is unable to improve the conditions of rural life.
Another major issue that has been highlighted by the farmers is that the Act does not allow them to work on communal lands, such as farms, coir houses, or waste grounds without permission. Farmers say that by banning them from using these areas for any activity, the government is undermining the rights of every farmer in India. The Act has also banned people from entering another person’s house, even if they are just passing by, without prior permission. It is evident that the government is trying to bring order in the areas where the protests are taking place, by taking the law into their own hands. This is the reason why the anger of farmers is not going to go away anytime soon. The protest in Punjab is against the unjustified banning of cotton cultivation in the state during the monsoon session. The monsoon session has been postponed due to the agitations in the state.
Many organizations have boycotted the session and thousands of farmers from different states have joined the demonstrations. In the state of Rajasthan, the agitations are against the ‘land grab’ policy of the previous government which allowed big industrial companies to take over agricultural lands for development purposes. Earlier in September, the cabinet of the prime minister of India, Mr. Narayan Murthy, met with the chief secretaries of various states to chalk out a plan to improve the existing farm loan policies.
The plan was to introduce some more stringent laws on the financing of agricultural needs, but Murthy was unable to finalize any new laws as of yet. According to analysts, farmers will never be convinced until and unless the existing laws on agriculture are changed, which is highly unlikely. The recent news about the farmers in India who are likely to take part in the farmer’s march across the country against the new government policies can be seen as another major turning point in this ongoing saga.
Farmers are now joining the demonstrations, which are being organized by various groups and organizations, as they feel that their rights are being violated by the present government. If the current policies are not changed, then many farmers who are already in debt with their loans may find it impossible to repay their debts. There is no doubt that the new Delhi laws are going to change the way business is done in India, but the farmers in particular do not want to see any changes in their lives even after the new reforms are brought into action.