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Article

1 Dec 2020

Author:
Swati Gupta, Esha Mitra, Julia Hollingsworth, CNN

India: Tens of thousands of farmers march on Delhi in protest against 'anti-farmer' reforms

“Tens of thousands of farmers swarm India’s capital to protest deregulation rules”, 01 December 2020

The farmers are protesting laws passed in September…

… [T]he move has infuriated India's farmers, who say that the new rules will leave them worse off by making it easier for corporates to exploit agricultural workers…

Under the previous laws, farmers had to sell their goods at auction at their state's Agricultural Produce Market Committee, where they were guaranteed to get at least the government-agreed minimum price. There were restrictions on who could purchase at auction and prices were capped for essential commodities.

Modi's new laws dismantle the committee structure, allowing farmers to sell their goods to anyone for any price…

Modi said increasing market competition would be a good thing…

But farmers argue that the rules could help big companies drive down prices. While farmers could sell crops at elevated prices if the demand is there, conversely, they could struggle to meet the minimum price in years when there is too much supply in the market.

Singh, the Uttar Pradesh farmer, said that removing the price guarantees will make life tougher for farmers.

"There is a lot of anger among farmers," he said. "We don't get even the minimum support price that is presently declared -- removing these protections and making it easier for corporates to enter will completely buy us out."

Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for about 58% of India's 1.3 billion population, meaning farmers are the biggest voter block in the country.

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