Indian farmers to block roads over new agricultural laws

Indian farmers will stage a three-hour, nationwide “chakka jam” today on major roadways in their ongoing protest against three new

Indian Agricultural Protests

Photo: PTI

Indian farmers will stage a three-hour, nationwide “chakka jam” today on major roadways in their ongoing protest against three new agricultural laws.

Negotiations between the farmers’ unions and the government have reached a deadlock. After violence at last week’s protests, which resulted in one death and hundreds of injuries, the Indian government has moved swiftly to dislodge the hundreds of thousands of protesters from their makeshift camps around New Delhi, cutting wi-fi, power and water access. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also signaled his non-conciliatory mood with cuts to agricultural subsidies in his government’s latest budget.

So far, the demonstrations have failed to summon cross-sectional, societal discontent with Modi and his liberal economic policies. Polls indicate that a majority of Indians support the government in the dispute as well as the agricultural laws, which would open the sector to private investment and reduce government-imposed minimum support prices for crops.

Thus, expect the government in the short-term to continue forcibly undercutting the movement while portraying protesters as violent and beholden to Sikh separatists and foreign celebrities. In the medium-term, expect Modi to push forward with his economic agenda, including privatisation of state-owned firms and deregulation of the financial sector.

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