The ongoing farmers’ movement in India has taken the world’s largest democracy by storm. Hundreds of thousands from all over the country have laid siege to New Delhi for more than two months. As both the protestors and the government dig their heels in, the chances of confrontation and violence are increasing by the day.
Local and international reporting traces the origin of the movement to three laws passed by Narendra Modi’s government in September 2020. These laws aim to radically change the country’s agricultural system ‘from a supply-push production system to a demand-led one’. In essence, the three laws aim at loosening regulations in the agriculture sector and cracking open the door for contract farming. The farmers fear these laws will put them at the mercy of large corporations and effectively kill various government support programs through which the state has historically subsidised agricultural production and protected farmers, as well as the general public, from the vicissitudes of the free market, both local and global.