Hundred Days Into the Worlds Largest Protest: Where Are We now
Why it started, how it's fairing, and what the response has been like
Last week marks 100-days since farmers took to the streets of New Delhi to call the Modi government to act. In September 2020, Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, passed three bills regarding the farming industry without the consultation of the farmers. These laws could ultimately lead to the mass destruction of the lives of the local farmers — that is 58% of India’s population.
A little bit of history.
In the 1960s, India’s farmers were struggling to earn money through their practice, and famine rose. The government decided to pair up with Americans to figure out a way to intervene and increase food grain production, in what is known as the Green Revolution. However, while increasing food grain production, they overused chemical fertilizers and pesticides causing some land to become infertile. While many crops suffered, foods such as rice and wheat production took off, creating a food surplus.
During this time, India developed a marketing system to establish set rules and regulations that would ensure fair pricing. The pricing system called Minimum Support Prices (MSP) was derived which are minimum established prices at which the government purchases crops from farmers. Before grocery stores, farmers would bring their crops to local wholesale marketplaces, known as Mandis, where they would sell their goods to the locals directly, however, after grocery stores came into play, the picture changed. Farmers no longer had the means to directly interact with the large retailers, and so the middlemen were created. These middlemen would act as a liaison between the farmers and retailers. At the Mandis, auctions would take place and the middlemen would be responsible for selling the crops to these retailers. The prices were also based on MSP. But now the middlemen had the power to exploit the farmers — and they often did. Because MSPs were not the law, farmers were left vulnerable to the middlemen. Although farmers usually did receive the MSP, they weren’t given anything more. They were stripped of their profits and sometimes had to wait days to receive the MSP. Farmers were often left with the bare minimum after…