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Separating Wheat from the Chaff: Farm Acts, Farmers’ Protest and Outcomes

Lakhwinder Singh () and Baldev Singh Shergill

Millennial Asia, 2021, vol. 12, issue 3, 390-410

Abstract: The farmers’ protest at the outskirts of Delhi has completed one year and still continuing. It was triggered after the Government of India enacted three farm Acts in September 2020 (now repealed) that strive to initiate sweeping reforms in agricultural produce selling, procurement, and storage and public distribution of essential commodities. In this context, an attempt has been made in this article to examine the claim of both the government and the farmers’ unions leading the protest movement. The contribution of this study is manifold: in terms of tracing the evolution of the current farmers’ protest movement, farmer unions’ negotiations with the government, loss of human lives, and outcomes. It is found that farm Acts are structurally flawed and risk the food security of the country besides preparing ground for eviction of smallholders from agriculture altogether. The analysis of the field survey based on characteristics of 460 deceased farmers during the participation in the protest reveals that they belonged to the lowest rung of the farmers. The support to the family members left behind has come from various quarters but is inadequate. The article argues that the state autonomy to take policy decisions regarding farm Acts should be protected. The union government should develop institutional mechanism to take along all stakeholders for resolving the international and inter-state issues concerning agriculture sector.

Keywords: Farm Acts; farmers’ protest; outcomes; agricultural crisis; economic reforms (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1177/09763996211063600

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