More than 70 per cent Indians said that the government should be sympathetic to the farmers protesting the three farm laws, who virtually blockaded the highways into Delhi for 375 days, as per IANS-CVoter Issues That Dominated India 2021 Tracker.The government eventually caved in when the laws were repealed by Parliament after the Prime Minister addressed the nation live on television on the holy day of Gurupurab.The repeal has sent two powerful messages: one, a powerful and resourceful minority can use street politics to get what it wants and two, genuine reforms in India are still a very hard sell.And yet, an IANS- CVoter survey indicated only 31 per cent Indians felt the laws were against the farmers while more than 50 per cent of Indians were convinced that the three farm laws were actually good for the farmers.
No one can deny that the agriculture sector is in dire need of reforms. While it now contributes just about 15 per cent of the GDP of India, more than two thirds are directly or indirectly dependent on it for a livelihood. This is not a sustainable situation.Then again, the excessive focus on wheat and rice has led to a peculiar situation where tens of millions of the two crops rot in godowns while other items of farm produce are neglected. The debate over legally guaranteeing MSP to all 23 crops will rage on; but partisans on both sides agree that Indian farmers desperately need sustainable reforms in the sector.Many farm leaders, particularly in Punjab have also jumped into the electoral fray to ride their luck. The outlook will determine what voters think of these farm leaders.