By Rajendra Jadhav and Mayank Bhardwaj
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Flushed with victory after Prime Minister Narendra Modi caved into calls for for agricultural reform legal guidelines to be repealed, Indian farmers held a mass rally on Monday to demand minimal assist costs be prolonged to all produce, not simply rice and wheat.
The protest motion launched by farmers greater than a yr in the past grew to become probably the most critical political problem to the Hindu nationalist authorities, and resulted in Modi making a shock dedication on Friday to roll again the reforms.
Thousands gathered for the latest rally in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, the place Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party will search to carry onto energy in state elections due early subsequent yr.
Since late 2020, 1000’s of farmers have camped on the outskirts of New Delhi as a part of a mass agitation to pressurise Modi into rolling again the reforms.
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His climbdown sparked celebrations by farmers, however their leaders instantly warned that the protests would proceed till the federal government promised to introduce a legislation that may assure minimal costs for all crops.
Currently, the federal government primarily buys rice and wheat at Minimum Support Prices or assured costs, however the security web advantages barely 6% of India’s tens of millions of farmers.
In a letter addressed to Modi one Sunday, the primary farmers’ physique mentioned: “Minimum Support Price, primarily based on the excellent value of manufacturing, ought to be made a authorized entitlement of all farmers (and) for all agricultural produce . . .”
Farmers additionally requested for the federal authorities to withdraw a draft electrical energy invoice, that they concern would result in state governments withdrawing their proper to free or subsidised energy, used primarily for irrigation.
The northern state of Punjab, a part of India’s grain belt, provides free electrical energy to the agriculture sector, whereas some states subsidise energy to farmers.
Growers have additionally requested the federal government to drop fines and different penalties for burning their fields after harvesting to take away stalk and chaff. The smoke has turn out to be a significant supply of air air pollution in Delhi and satellite tv for pc cities bordering the crop rising northern states.
(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav and Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
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