ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Farm Reforms, Protests and By-election in Haryana

Farm Reforms, Protests and By-election in Haryana

The central agricultural reforms have emerged as a new factor that played a vital role in the recently held by-election in a Haryana assembly constituency. Due to opposition from farmers and political parties to the so-called new farm reforms, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Jannayak Janta Party coalition has remarkably lost its vote share and an opportunity to win a rural constituency by-election. The Indian National Congress has become a major beneficiary of opposition to central new farm legislation in Haryana.

 

India has witnessed substantial changes in central agricultural legislation (EPW 2020). The new farm ­reforms intended for market-driven agriculture have caused a fear of distortion in the existing minimum support price (MSP) system and likely increase in the distressed sale of farm produce. The protest for the legal surety of MSP and the repeal of central government’s new farm laws has been most intense in Haryana and Punjab, where government agencies procure farm produce primarily at MSP. By taking the comparative advantage of MSP system and the availability of fertile land, Haryana has played a vital role in India’s transformation from a country of food shortage to self-sufficient in cereals. However, the current rice–wheat-dominated cropping pattern has severe conse­quences for the ecological sustainability of agriculture in the state. There exists a large scope for farm policy reforms to ensure remunerative prices for farmers and sustainability of agriculture.

The level of MSP and procurement ope­rations remains a politically contentious proposition in the state. A by-election in the Baroda constituency of Haryana assembly has been held amid opposition to new farm legislation. Thereafter, one opposition party member of Haryana assembly has resigned protesting against new farm laws. In fact, Haryana has become a hotspot for political protest against new farm reforms. The recently held by-election can be viewed as a test of political acceptability of new farm reforms in the state. Even the ong­oing farmers’ movement is expected to affect the outcome of the forthcoming by-election. This article investigates the economic implications of the state interventions in agricultural markets and analyses the electoral performance of major parties in the recently held by-election in Haryana. The findings are useful in the pursuit of policies to promote farmers’ welfare and political stability in the state.

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Updated On : 23rd May, 2021

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