Last week on India’s Republic Day, tens of thousands of Indian farmers driving tractors entered New Delhi protesting recent changes in agricultural policies.
How we got here: In November, India passed laws that changed the decades-long practice of farmers selling certain price-guaranteed crops to government-run markets. Prime Minister Modi hoped to open the sector to private investments and stir growth.
But farmers saw it differently. Fearful of greedy corporations exploiting laborers and driving down prices, producers decided to protest.
And with 60% of India’s 1.3 billion people relying on farming for their livelihood, the government found itself a subcontinent-sized problem.
Farmers had been peacefully camped outside the city since November. But when tractor parades began on pre-approved routes last week, several farmers veered off their row-markers…
Then it got dicey.
Protesters and police clashed, leaving one dead and dozens injured. The government has now fortified the city and blocked the highways leading into it. And with the government shutting down the internet, water, and electricity in certain areas, civil and human rights activists are now concerned. Even Rihanna gave her two cents…
Where this goes: Prime Minister Modi has offered to postpone implementing the law, but farmers are pushing for a full repeal. For now, it looks like solving this big-wheeled, wide-load of an issue ain’t going any faster.