Millions of farmers in India to benefit from new Agri laws, says Oz scholar

Millions of farmers in India to benefit from new Agri laws, says Oz scholar

April 13
06:37 2021

Millions of farmers in India will benefit from the country’s new farm laws, an Australian-based scholar who advised against listening to activists said.
In an article for Foreign Policy, Salvatore Babones an adjunct scholar at the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney said that India’s rich farmers are holding up reforms designed to help the poor.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered the farmers limited price supports but held the line on loan waivers. Instead, he promised to implement structural reforms after the election. The opposition Indian National Congress countered with a promise to “waive all farm loans” across the entire country–an expensive solution decried by economists as a populist magic wand,” he wrote.
“Despite what activists and Western celebrities supporting the protests would have us believe, most of those who’ve been protesting the new laws since September aren’t drawn from the ranks of marginalized subsistence farmers driven by debt and despair to the edge of suicide,” the scholar added.
Babones stated that these farmers fear that the laws will help large agribusinesses undermine the current state-directed system for buying farm produce and ultimately lead to the dismantling of the price support system on which they depend.
They are demanding that the government repeal the reforms and guarantee the future of price supports.
“The overall goal of the reforms is to transform Indian agriculture from a locally managed rural economy into a modern national industry. They will allow small farmers to specialize in niche crops that can be marketed nationwide through large-scale wholesalers. They will also create new risks, as farmers are transformed into an entrepreneur,” according to his article on Foreign Policy.
He stated that when authoritative Western media outlets “uncritically buy into the poor farmers” narrative, the result is pure misinformation. Articles suggesting that the BJP’s new farm laws threaten the livelihoods of as many as 800 million people must wrestle with the reality that in a country where 52 per cent of the working population is engaged in agriculture, only 6 per cent of the population actively disapprove of Modi’s performance in office.

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