Farmers in different Indian states are protesting against three new bills .Government says will open up the tightly-controlled agriculture sector to free-market forces.
The bills, implemented by India’s parliament this week, make it easier for farmers to sell their produce directly to private buyers and enter into a contract with private entities. The government hopes private sector investments will boost growth.
The main opposition Congress called the bills “black law” and “pro-corporate”. Rahul Gandhi accused Modi of “making farmers ‘slaves’ of the capitalists…”.
But Modi has defended the statement. “For decades, the Indian farmer was bound by various constraints and bullied by middlemen. The bills passed by Parliament liberate the farmers from such adversities,” he said in a Twitter post.
As per act passed in 1964, it was mandatory for farmers to sell their produce at government-regulated markets, or mandis, where middlemen helped growers sell harvests to either the state-run company or private entities.
This new new laws give farmers additional choices to sell their produce anywhere in the country, in contrast to the earlier situation where inter-state trade was not permitted.