The following is an unpublished transcript of an interview the author did for a UK-based TV channel that covers issues of interest to the worldwide Sikh diaspora. It concerns three pieces of farm legislation in India that were repealed in late 2021 after a prolonged protest by India’s farmers that gained global support and recognition.
Although the interview took place before the laws were repealed, the issues discussed remain highly relevant. That is because farmers are concerned that the government is dragging its feet on a number of issues more than six months after the legislation was repealed, not least a guaranteed minimum support price for produce procured by the public and private sectors, loan default injustices and other matters that have fuelled and deepened the country’s agrarian crisis.
The government’s apparent reluctance to implement the demands of farmers might indicate that the global corporations and financial institutions behind the legislation remain steadfast in seeking to secure what the laws aimed to bring about – the full-scale neoliberal marketisation of India’s agrifood sector, including the displacement of peasant farmers and independent, indigenous enterprises.
The interview took place with prominent UK-based campaigner Ranjit Singh Srai.
Ranjit Singh Srai: There has been much said about PM Modi’s new farm laws in terms of the motivation and the potential effect on farmers as well as the wider population. The government’s narrative has been pushed by its media friends and those taking part in the agitation have had their arguments patronisingly rubbished and simply been targeted as foreign agents, criminals and even terrorists. How do you see the outcome of any implementation of these new laws and the motivation behind them?