Working Paper 332 | State v/s Peasants: Farm Laws, Farmers’ Agitation, and the Agrarian Crisis

The nation has been undergoing one of the most contentious farmers’ uprisings in history, which erupted in reaction to the government’s rapid approval of three laws aimed at furthering agricultural reforms. Even as the highest court of the land was dragged in to examine the constitutionality of the legislation, the movement has raised critical concerns that must be addressed earnestly if the agricultural crisis is to be overcome. The paper is a critical study of the farm laws and farmers’ agitation in the context of the prevailing agrarian crisis. The government appears desperate given its proclaimed strategy of resolving the crisis through market-oriented reforms. The farmers’ concerns have emerged in the backdrop of agriculture’s overall deterioration and the lack of viable livelihood alternatives. The movement has pitted peasants against the neoliberal state. The situation is too intricate for spontaneous markets and perfunctory regulations to address. An alternate strategy of integrated and planned agricultural transformation is warranted.