As thousands of farmers from the states of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh head towards Delhi to intensify protests, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tried to reassure them of the benefits to be reaped by newly passed farm laws. While addressing corporate leaders at the 93rd Annual General Meeting of industry body FICCI, Modi said that farmers will benefit from more technology and be able to access more markets via the agriculture reforms.
Modi emphasised that the new legislation will take down the age-old barriers built around the agricultural sector, adding that farmers will now benefit from being able to sell their produce to private players.
The government is committed to protecting the interests of farmers through its policies and intentions, says PM Modi as 11 protesting farmers have lost their lives in the last 17 days.
Thousands of others, meanwhile, have started their march towards Delhi, where around 50,000 farmers are sitting on the two major highways linking the national capital with the rest of the country. Farmers have also announced a complete blockade of the Delhi-Jaipur highway - one of the busiest and industry-heavy regions of the country from Sunday.
The protesters have occupied a nearly 10km stretch on two highways, the Singhu and Tikri. Additional security arrangements are currently being made at other entry points where security agencies suspect farmers will try to enter Delhi.
— Ayushman Kumar (@Iam_Ayushmann) December 12, 2020
The farmers have been protesting on the outskirts of Delhi demanding a complete rollback of the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
Farmers believe that the new laws will pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system (MSP), leaving them at the mercy of big corporate entities.