Delhi Farmer Protests
Outrage from 3 central farm legislations have been increasing since September. Farmers in India are full of anger towards their government, as the laws passed will impact them greatly. Since late November and the first few days in December, thousands of farmers have marched to the capital, coming from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. On December 8th, there was a nationwide protest amongst the farmers of India.
The farm reform bills encourage private sector businesses to invest in agriculture. Due to the impact the new legislation has on supply and demand, farmers will earn less and in turn struggle to provide for their families. These farmers are worried that they won’t have enough bargaining power to get to decent pricing of their goods, prices that would give them a decent standard of living once they negotiate their goods to larger companies. This would lead to small landholders being unprotected, and at risk of losing their business/land to big corporations.
Agriculture in India is a giant topic, with its political and economical impacts. Approximately 60 percent of the population relies on agriculture and farming for their livelihoods. Its part in economics, while slowly decreasing, is around 15%. With the amount of farmers, and the voter base they make up, it is evident why Modi might be inclined to listen to them.
The impacts of these reforms do not stop in India, but they further ripple through and effect the world. India produces approximately 68% of the world’s spices, so the amount of garlic, curry powder, chili, and pepper (etc.) will soon start to dwindle. India is also the largest exporter of basmati rice, along with the world’s largest milk producer. Milk is most likely the first item to see an effect, as the largest contributors are the states of Delhi, Haryana, and Punjab, which is where the main protests are occurring.
“These new laws will be a death blow to farmers. Large private corporations will eat the farmers alive if the government gives them a free hand like this,” said Prasad, a farmer protesting in the southern city of Bangalore tells SCMP.
The governmental insists the reform is necessary, claiming it will increase efficiency. “We cannot build the next century with the laws of the previous century. Some laws that used to be good in the past century have become a burden in the present century. Reforms should be a continuous process,” Modi said on Monday, without directly referring to the farmers’ strike. Heads and leaders of the farmers met with the administration of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. The farmers were offered a promise to amend the laws, but the farmers do not want to stop pushing until the law reform is repealed.
The good news is, the Modi administration, along with many other politicians, seem to be taking these acts of protests more seriously then previous cases. Over 20 political parties have sided with the farmers, including BJP’s allies, in hopes of gaining political momentum.
The Effects on Gen-Z
The effects of these protests and the new laws are mostly impacting gen-z members in or around India. As farmers supply and support India, economically and politically, not only affecting the current food supply for these teens. Also impacting the political climate for the next years, with BJP siding with farmers in order to gain political traction.
How to Help
Donating to groups who are organizing and helping on the ground in India, is a way to directly fund and financially help if you live outside of India.
International Humanitarian Relief group, has
on the ground team in India helping protest organizers
humanitarian non-profit, collecting monetary donations for farmers’ families
If you are not in a position where you are able to support protests, farmers, or affected citizens financially, educating yourself and informing others can also make an impact. Sharing nonprofits and donation links, along with signing petitions are another way to increase the amount of public knowledge and awareness of these protests worldwide.
Rachel Gerhardt is a 15 year old that attends Hudson High School. She became apart of Zenerations in August of 2020 and is currently a writer. She is interested in feminism, politics and activism and expresses this through her creative and informative writing.