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  • Farmer protest against price deregulation, India, Dec., 3, 2020.

    Farmer protest against price deregulation, India, Dec., 3, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @jnniekore

Published 3 December 2020
Opinion

They denounce that neoliberal reforms endanger the livelihoods of over 50 percent of the country's workers. 

The blocking of some entrances to New Delhi by thousands of farmers reached seven consecutive days on Thursday. They protest against agricultural laws enacted by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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Dozens of agricultural organizations are opposed to reforms seeking to deregulate the prices and quantity of certain crops, which were sold in wholesale markets controlled by public authorities.

Currently, the Modi administration also seeks that companies can negotiate directly with producers, a possibility that would leave small farmers at the mercy of large entrepreneurs.

On Thursday, thousands of farmers from the states of Haryana, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh continued to arrive in the country's capital and attempted to occupy it. However, the security forces prevented that from happening.

The All India Kisan Sangarsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) Secretary Avril Saha announced that farmers are prepared to block more roads and camp at the entrance to New Delhi for as long as it takes for the government to listen to their demands.

Leaders of agricultural organizations met with a delegation chaired by Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Trade Ministry Piyush Goyal.

"The problem is that farmers' organizations are asking for the laws to be withdrawn ... and the government is telling us to ask what we want except the cancellation of the laws. We are at a standstill," Saha explained.

Prime Minister Modi defended the new farm laws arguing that the pro-market reforms "have opened new doors and possibilities for our farmers," Modi said.

Besides pointing out that reforms endanger the livelihoods of over 50 percent of the country's workers, the farmers' organizations called for a massive protest across India next Saturday.

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