The bills in question include the Farmers Act (Authorization and Protection) on Price Hedge and Agricultural Services, the Farmers Trade and Commerce Act (Promotion and Facilitation), and the Essential Goods Act (amendment). While the first two laws expand the marketing infrastructure provided by Indian governments and allow agricultural products to be marketed directly to processors, aggregators, wholesalers, large retailers, and exporters, the third law aims to facilitate the production, transportation and distribution of agricultural products through disposal existing regulatory barriers. As a result, farmers' already weak wealth will be further reduced.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi argues that under these laws The agricultural system will be streamlined and farmers will have more freedom to sell their goods directly to private companies at any price, rather than having to sell their products through an auction known as the 'mandi system'. However, farmers argue that these bills will collectively privatize the agricultural system, leaving them vulnerable to corporate exploitation.
In addition, the new laws allow large companies to dominate the market by lowering prices and reducing the advantage farmers have in setting their own product prices. This will add to India's growing unemployment and farmer debt.
According to Al Jazeera, Many farmers argue that the current state-controlled "mandi system" needs to be reformed within the food supply chain to give farmers more opportunities to sell their crops for profit, and that these new laws only allow farmers economically and within the agricultural system will further disempower a whole.
Despite consistent development in the technology sector, agriculture remains the greatest source of income deal for most Indians more than half of the workforce on the subcontinent. Despite feeding a significant portion of India's economy and population, farmers themselves have been struggling for years, often bearing debts and losses due not only to marketed goods but also to severe weather Climate change.
While Modi and his corrupt government claim these laws will protect farmers, these farmers, who are often older, refuse to stop protesting until their demands are met. "We are concerned that no one will buy our products and that we will run into debt," said Harinder Singh, general secretary of a Punjabi farmers' union NPR. "We want the government to repeal these laws."
Similar to protests in the United States, where peaceful protesters face police violence, protesters in India face harsh and violent reprisals by the government. At the start of the protest on November 25, when protesters reached New Delhi, police officers not only used tear gas and water cannons against protesters, but also damaged roads outside the city to prevent them from entering. Photos and videos went viral on social media showing the brutal tactics police officers used, including beating protesters. Even so, the peasants and their allies marched on and were even filmed as they fed some of the officers who beat them.
Due to the worldwide attention and the ongoing protest, which is the largest and longest in human history, talks between representatives of a farmers' union and government officials are scheduled to take place this week. This comes as a shock to many South Asians as the Modi government is not known to talk about issues and instead inflict violence on protesters of its policies.
While these protests are primarily taking place in India and are in favor of Indian farmers, it is important to note that they have an impact on conditions and people outside the country. "The pandemic has shown us that there are two economies," said Simran Jeet Singh, a scholar of religion and history who currently teaches at Union Seminary CNN. "Basic workers around the world suffer. The peasants in India represent them all, and their opposition to unfair laws that privilege the over-abundant corporations is a resistance that speaks to so many of us around the world."
Not only is India one of the world's largest producers and exporters of spices, but the places where these protests take place lead the global exports of basmati rice and milk. Outside of food, these herbs are also used for homeopathy and medical practice. Chances are that something was made in your home in India and would not have been if these farmers protested earlier. These protests not only affect the livelihood of farmers in India, but also how you get the goods you use every day, be it spices or cotton that is in your clothes or bedding.
"Even if you don't have a personal connection with India or the farmers out there like many of us, as a person living on earth you should be concerned about the exploitation of the people who feed you every day," said Ramanpreet Kaur. A Sikh Punjabi woman in New York told CNN.
People from all over the world, including the US, participate in solidarity movements with these farmers because even if you do not consume the goods they produce it is a humanitarian problem. People should always be valued over companies. A number of nonprofits like Khalsa Aid are working to provide protesters and organizers with food and other relief supplies. Even if you can't protest, there are a number of ways you can help these farmers, including donations to organizations that help affected families, such as donating to charity Sahaita. Whether you are Indian or not should not matter: exploitation should not be ignored.