Indian farmers are on a war footing since the Indian Parliament passed the Indian Agricultural Acts of 2020, often referred to as the Farm Bills, in September of last year.
Since the end of November, hundreds of thousands of protesters have gathered on the outskirts of New Delhi to protest against the changes brought by law, which they say will endanger their livelihood, put farmers at the mercy of companies, and will hurt their economy. Agriculture is the largest source of income for most Indians, employing more than half of the country's workforce.
In December, tens of thousands of people protested in the capital, New Delhi, and more than 250 million people from across the subcontinent took part in a 24-hour strike in solidarity, in what has been called the largest organized protest action in the history of mankind. All of this culminated in a violent breaking of barriers at the Red Fort in Delhi on January 26, India's Republic Day, and with a strike on January 30.
India's agricultural acts
The government claims that the three new laws will help farmers by eliminating taxes and other financial charges imposed by the government to help them sell products directly to businesses. The goal is also to promote private investment in agriculture.
The three acts are:
- The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020
- The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020
- The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020
Farmers argue that new laws prevent them from obtaining a guaranteed minimum support price (MSP) and that companies will be able to monopolize production. They demand a total withdrawal of the laws and have stated that they are willing to remain on the outskirts of the capital until this happens.