What prompts the march of tens of thousands of Indian farmers towards New Delhi?

Movie DetailerWorld What prompts the march of tens of thousands of Indian farmers towards New Delhi?
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Tens of thousands of Indian farmers are currently marching towards the capital to demand guaranteed crop prices, reviving a movement from two years ago that successfully led to the government repealing controversial new agricultural laws.
On Tuesday, the police employed tear gas, detained several farmers, and heavily fortified border points to prevent the protesters from entering New Delhi.
Authorities are determined to control the new demonstrations to prevent a recurrence of the 2021 protests, during which thousands of farmers camped outside the capital for over a year, enduring a harsh winter and a devastating surge in COVID-19 cases.
The farmers, who have traveled on tractors and trucks from neighboring states of Haryana and Punjab, claim that the government has failed to fulfill some of their key demands from the previous protests.
In 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi revoked a series of agricultural laws that triggered the initial round of protests from farmers who believed that the legislation would negatively impact their incomes.
However, farmer groups who are currently leading the march argue that since then, the government has made insufficient progress on other important demands, including guaranteed crop prices, a doubling of farmers’ income, and loan waivers.
The demand for legislation that guarantees minimum support prices lies at the core of their protests.
Currently, the government safeguards agricultural producers against any significant decline in farm prices by setting a minimum purchase price for certain essential crops. This system was introduced in the 1960s to support food reserves and prevent shortages. However, farmers are demanding that this protection be extended to all farm produce, not just essential crops.
In November 2021, Modi’s announcement that his government would overturn the controversial laws was widely seen as a victory for the farmers and a rare surrender by the populist leader.
The government had defended the laws as necessary reforms to modernize Indian agriculture, but farmers feared that the government’s implementation of market reforms would leave them financially worse off.
The protests, which began in northern India, sparked nationwide demonstrations and received international support. Several farmers died due to suicides, adverse weather conditions, and the ongoing pandemic.
Political commentators stated that the protest movement posed the biggest challenge at that time for the Modi government, which then attempted to depict the decision to repeal the laws as a demonstration of prioritizing farmers.
The current protests come at a crucial moment for the ruling party and Modi, who is widely expected to sweep the upcoming national elections and secure a third consecutive term.
In 2021, Modi’s decision to annul the laws was perceived as an attempt to appease farmers prior to critical state elections.
Farmers constitute the most influential voting bloc in India and are often romanticized as the nation’s heart and soul.
Politicians have long considered it unwise to alienate them, and farmers are particularly vital to Modi’s support base. His party governs northern Haryana and a few other states with substantial farmer populations.
If the protests were to gain the same momentum as last time, it would present a new challenge for Modi and his government just a few months before the general election.

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