India’s women are struggling everywhere. And the planned agricultural reform on the subcontinent will hit many women with full force. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, on Monday in front of the gates of the Indian capital New Delhi, more than 20,000 women officially joined the peasant protests, which had been going on for months, for all to see.
Tens of thousands of Indian farmers and their families have been camping at three locations on the outskirts of New Delhi since November to protest against the agrarian reforms of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. Small farmers in particular fear that the market opening that has been decided in favor of agricultural corporations will depress prices.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been calling on farmers to end their protest for weeks. He has also invited farmers’ representatives several times to discuss the controversial laws for the liberalization of the agricultural market.
Fear of falling prices
Why is? In India, grain was previously traded in state-organized wholesale markets at guaranteed minimum prices. After the reform, farmers should also be able to sell their goods directly to private companies. The government argues that the free market will allow producers to make higher profits and that the reform will modernize agriculture. The farmers, on the other hand, fear a drop in prices because they would be in a bad position in negotiations with the agricultural corporations.
Agriculture contributes around 15 percent to Indian economic output and is the livelihood for around 60 percent of the country’s more than 1.3 billion inhabitants. Many farmers in India have money problems.
The Modi government is said to have asked the short message service Twitter to remove more than a thousand Twitter accounts because, from their point of view, they disseminated misinformation and provocative content about the protests, as reported by the television broadcaster NDTV, citing government circles. Twitter initially did not comply with the request.