INDIAN farmers have been braving horrible police violence and incurring abusive outbursts from pro-government media to stridently reject recent laws passed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government.

The laws passed in September are perceived as favoring India's big businesses in an unequal bargain. Among the sticking points is an official aversion to a minimum support price the farmers want the government to commit to, a subsidy that most capitalist systems accord their agriculture but which has been frowned on in India since the advent of the 1990s' free-market policies.

The protesting farmers are mainly from the larger landholding region of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. They say they have been dealing with village moneylenders with whom they have acquired a comfort level.

The big corporates posed a threat. They are seeking to harness Indian agriculture to their supply chain that dovetails with the interests of larger MNCs.

Some evidence here worries the farmers. Indian businesses have taken over large swathes of arable  land in developing countries, principally in Africa, triggering protests from peasant groups there against exploitative practices they link to the colonial period.

The farmers say they have come prepared for six months to choke Delhi's arterial roads. It could be extended to ensure a repeal of the controversial laws. Already, the stand-off is being seen as a political liability Mr. Modi had not anticipated.

The World Students Society thanks Editorial Staff at The Dawn.


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