Protest against newly passed farm bills at Singhu border near New Delhi. File/ Reuters
Gulf Today Report
As an army of resolute Indian farmers keeps up its blockade of New Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi faces potentially the trickiest challenge yet to his authority and reform agenda.
The Prime Minister’s reforms in the agrarian sector were aimed at helping them as thousands of farmers continued protests against three new laws to overhaul procurement and sale of produce.
India's farming sector is vast and troubled. It provides a livelihood to nearly 70 percent of the country's 1.3 billion people and accounts for around 15 percent of the $2.7-trillion economy.
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“Reforms will help draw investment in agriculture and benefit farmers,” he said at the annual meeting of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi.
“The aim of the all government reforms is to make farmers’ prosperous,” he said adding that private sector must help improve the country’s agriculture sector.
But protesting farmers in northern states fear the new legislations will eventually dismantle India’s regulated markets and stop the government from buying wheat and rice at guaranteed prices, leaving them at the mercy of private buyers.
The protests demanding the repeal of new agricultural laws have grown into a rebellion that is rattling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. On Tuesday, more than 10,000 tractors and thousands more people on foot or horseback tried to advance into the capital,
Tens of thousands of farmers have been camped on the outskirts of the capital, New Delhi, for almost two months, protesting against what they say are laws designed to benefit large private buyers at the expense of growers.
Angry at what they see as laws benefiting large private buyers at the expense of producers, tens of thousands of farmers have been camped at protest sites on the outskirts of the capital New Delhi for over two months.
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