Indian Farmers End Yearlong Protests As Government Caves In

Image: Reuters

Indian farmers have decided to call off their agitation after the government agreed to most of their other demands, despite the fact that parliament repealed three contentious farm laws.

According to farm leader Yogendra Yadav, the farmers ended their strike after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government agreed to form a panel to consider guaranteed crop prices across the country, withdraw cases filed against growers in various states, and compensate families of those killed during the protest.

“We’ll meet again on January 15 to assess whether the government’s promises are met or not, and then we’ll decide how to continue,” Mr. Yadav added. Farmers would begin leaving protest sites following a victory march on Saturday, he added.

Mr. Modi may feel relieved if the movement, which began in late 2020 and resulted in the deaths of around 700 demonstrators, comes to an end before of five state elections next year. The repeal of the legislation, which is his most significant policy shift since taking office in 2014, is significant since farmers make up a huge voting group in the country, with 60 percent of the country’s 1.4 billion inhabitants relying on agriculture for a living.

The backtracking also indicates that the government lacks the willpower to push through difficult reforms in the face of public opposition. The three farm bills would have made it easier to sell, price, and store farm crops.

Despite the repeal of the farm laws last month, farmers have continued to press for the establishment of a mechanism to ensure that farmers get minimum support rates for all harvests.

The administration has stated that implementing a uniform price guarantee scheme would be impossible due of the high cost. It presently sets rates for around a half-dozen agriculture commodities, including some grains and pulses, and buys limited quantities at those rates for its welfare programs. Farm items are purchased by private players at market-determined prices.

Hundreds of thousands of farmers gathered along major roads into the capital and other cities in what was one of the most well-coordinated and generally peaceful rallies India has seen since independence in 1947.

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