Indian farmers are bracing for another major showdown with the federal government after accusing its new farm laws of ignoring their interests and promoting multinational firms.
A church-backed body has joined farmers’ unions in asking the government to withdraw two laws that parliament passed on Sept. 20.
The government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, are measures to reform the farm sector.
But “the new laws are a real threat to the farm sector and the farmers,” said Father Joseph Ottaplackal, chairman of the Indian Farmers Movement (INFAM), a church-backed body based in southern India’s Kerala State.
More than 70% of India’s 1.3 billion people directly or indirectly depend on farming for their sustenance. But some 80% of them – over 700 million – are marginal farmers with less than two hectares of land.