India's huge farmer protests, explained

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Thousands of India’s farmers have set up camp in Delhi.

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In November 2020, thousands of farmers marched from the northern states of India to Delhi to protest farming reforms passed by Prime Minister Modi’s government. Those protests have continued throughout the month of December and show little sign of letting up. The farmers have set up camp in and around the capital city to pressure the government to repeal the laws, but the government won’t budge.

The government says these new laws will modernize farming by liberalizing the industry, but India’s farmers say it will be their downfall. Under these new policies, farmers will have fewer government protections and will likely lose the government-regulated markets and prices they have relied on for decades.

To make matters even more difficult, all this is happening as India’s farmers grapple with a shrinking share of the economy that has contributed to a suicide crisis around the country.

To understand the three farming reforms and why they have driven so many farmers into the streets, as well as the history behind the problems farmers have been facing for decades, watch the video above.

Sources and further reading:

If you want to read the three laws behind the protests, issued in late September, you can find them here:
https://ruralindiaonline.org/library/tags/farm-bills/

For a deep dive into "mandis," or India’s regulated whole markets, check out the report “Understanding Mandis: Market Towns and the Dynamics of India’s Rural and Urban Transformations” by Mekhala Krishnamurthy:
https://casi.sas.upenn.edu/sites/default/files/research/Understanding%20Mandis%20-%20D.%20Kapur%2C%20M.%20Krishnamurthy.pdf

Here, you can explore data that shows the impact of the farming reforms on the whole markets since they were announced in June 2020:
https://agmarknet.gov.in/SearchCmmMkt.aspx?Tx_Commodity=0&Tx_State=0&Tx_District=0&Tx_Market=0&DateFrom=01-Jun-2020&DateTo=16-Dec-2020&Fr_Date=01-Jun-2020&To_Date=16-Dec-2020&Tx_Trend=1&Tx_CommodityHead=--Select--&Tx_StateHead=--Select--&Tx_DistrictHead=--Select--&Tx_MarketHead=--Select--

To learn more about the “Green Revolution” and the impact it had on India and its agriculture, check out this detailed report by the Journal of Ethnic Foods:
https://journalofethnicfoods.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s42779-019-0011-9

If you want to explore India’s agricultural economy in relation to the country’s GDP over time, check out this data from the World Bank:
https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NV.AGR.TOTL.ZS?locations=IN

Here is some more data compiled by the Government of India on India’s farmer suicide crisis:
https://ncrb.gov.in/sites/default/files/chapter-2-suicides-2018.pdf

And a link to international suicide hotline numbers: https://www.opencounseling.com/suicide-hotlines

Finally, you can read our written explainer on Vox.com here:
https://www.vox.com/2020/12/2/21726648/india-farmer-protests-strike-action-new-delhi

Thanks for watching and let us know what you think in the comments!

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