Dear Reader,

The massive farmers’ protests on the borders of Delhi are resonating across the country. That a community more inured to the plough than protests should be forced to lay siege to the capital, as a last resort for justice, has shaken the nation’s consciousness. Braving the cold, the barricades, the lathis, and innuendoes of being seditious, the farmers have dug-in, not to bend.

The Foundation’s grantees have reported on the events and the issues in their characteristic fashion – in-depth and from the ground, covering all the aspects of the farm legislations and the farmer agitation.

The Wire analyses the provisions of the Act and talks to noted development-journalist P Sainath to fathom why the farmers are up in arms. The Lede debunks claims that the abolition of the APMCs did wonders for farmers in Bihar - when their incomes actually crashed.

IDR talks to both farmers and investors to get both sides of the debate on agri-reforms - through the eyes of a farmer and an investor. Khabar Lahariya speaks to farmer union leaders in Banda who are gearing up to travel to Delhi to join the protest.

Swarajya looks at the other side of the debate and argues that while the government may have to capitulate in the immediate-term to the protesting farmers, continuing the MSP and abandoning the reforms will be catastrophic in the long run.

And, The Caravan brings you a day in the life of the farmer protests from Delhi’s Kundli border in evocative text and images.

For these and more stories on the farmer protests from our grantees, please read on.


Sunil Rajshekhar

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Three Farm Bills and India’s Rural Economy

The Wire analyses the provisions of the Farm Act in-depth and concludes that the legislations will further and irreversibly worsen the farmer’s present situation of being debt-ridden, starved of funding and deprived of an assured price mechanism. The Acts seek to open up the farming at both ends – “production (through contract farming) and sale (through complete deregulation)”. The answer lies in the revival of the rural economy and the farmers treated with dignity and respect.

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The Bihar Model Of Agriculture & Why It Failed

The Lede cuts through the noise around the Farm Acts and farmers’ protests to explain why reforms, like the removal of APMCs in Bihar, did nothing in solving farmers’ problems. In fact, the story points out that not only did the prices actually crash but the huge volatility in the prices wreaked havoc on the farmer’s incomes.

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#FarmActs2020: Perspectives

India Development Review put together a series of videos on the farm laws featuring farmers representatives (here, here) and an investor who give viewers a comprehensive understanding of the farm laws and their impact. While farmers representatives are sceptical and opposed to the new laws, private investors feel that they only formalise a system of private procurement which already exists.

बांदा से दिल्ली के लिए कूच- बुंदेलखंड किसान यूनियन

Khabar Lahariya speaks to farmer union leaders in Banda who are gearing up to go to Delhi to join the protest against the three “black” farm bills. Saying that hundreds of farmers from Bundelkhand will be joining their farmer brethren in Delhi, they express their apprehensions that the actual motivation for the ‘reforms’ is to hand over agriculture to big corporates and deprive farmers of their lands and rights.

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Government Has To Stoop To Conquer, But MSP Extension Will Be The Road To Disaster

While the government has to give in to the protesting farmers in the immediate short term, it would be a mistake to prolong the MSP extension. In view of the protests, the Centre should – keep the farm laws in abeyance, start a dialogue with all stakeholders, including consumer groups, and transfer food and fertiliser subsidies to the states. Swarajya argues.

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No divisiveness here: Farmers welcome all solidarity at the Kundli protest

The Caravan captures the mood in text and photos at one of the protest sites, Kundli, on the Delhi-Haryana border. They tell a story of barricades, police bandobast, a 4-km long line of protestor’s vehicles, langars, camaraderie, viral protest songs and determination, all coordinated through WhatsApp.

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Women farmers & their challenges continue to remain unseen

The protesting farmers have largely been represented in the media by turban-clad men from Punjab and Haryana. However, Suno India speaks with an activist who explains how women farmers have been left out from the conversation. Women are not even recognised as farmers despite performing more than three-fourths of farming-related tasks and spending an average of 13-hours a day in their fields in some cases.

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Reforming India’s Agricultural Markets

Takshashila Institution interviews an economist who takes listeners through how India’s agriculture markets work and how the move to reform these markets could benefit farmers. India has done a great injustice to farmers for decades under the garb of protecting them, it asserts.

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Watch | 'Farm Bills Are an Attempt to Wipe Out the Fortunes of Farmers': P. Sainath

The Wire goes deep into the farm Acts with P Sainath, development-journalist and founder-editor of the People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI). The story argues that while the APMC and MSP did have conceptual flaws, the present provisions of the farm bills would ensure the big corporates would be in a position to browbeat the farmer into paying the price they set. The story predicts that the farm Acts in their present form, if implemented, will be disastrous for the farmers and lead to their ruination.

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How peasants are an indelible part of Sikh theology, history and tradition

In the wake of the farmer uprising in the national capital, Down to Earth delves into the history of Sikhism which is rife with incidents and events where peasants have been major actors and even leaders. The article points out that the farmer protests against the new farm laws only validate the importance of the peasant in Sikh religion and society.

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कश्मीर तक पहुंची किसान आंदोलन की आंच, युवा बोले मोदी सरकार का बिल किसान विरोधी

Janjwar reports from the ground in Kashmir where the youth are standing in solidarity with the farmers protesting in the national capital. They say that these three ‘black’ farm bills are an attempt to make the farmers subservient to the corporates. They call upon the citizens to stand with the farmers.

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Farmers' Protest: Despite Rightwing Propaganda, 'Khalistani' Angle Finds Little Traction

Despite concerted attempts by certain sections to paint the farmers’ protest as Khalistani, the citizens, farmer groups, and even a section of the ruling party have rejected the insinuations, The Wire reports. It is a “secular” farmer’s movement with significant participation of Hindus, people on the ground assert.

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Govt has failed to communicate why agri laws are necessary for farmers : Ashok Gulati

Noted agricultural economist Prof Ashok Gulati argues in an interview with The Print that while the ‘farm reforms’ would be beneficial to the farmers in the long-run, the government has failed to communicate this to the stakeholders. This lack of communication has led to the farming community being “misinformed” and “driven by fear psychosis”.

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