Demonstrations led by farmers over recent months represent the largest-ever mobilization of farmers in independent India. The death toll has risen to over 70 lives. The overarching demand is the repeal of three laws and the maintenance of minimum support prices (MSPs). In the larger context, however, the standoff can be seen as the fallout caused by the demise of the Green Revolution.
While India boasts economic growth figures that exceed 6%, holistic development cannot be achieved until policies and legislation consider grassroots inequalities. India, the largest democracy in the world, is globally regarded as an economic force to be reckoned with. However, many rulings and loopholes in the judiciary system imply an uneven, and arguably stagnant, development in terms of women’s rights and safety in India. This should hamper broader understandings of development in India.
Often, governments are expected to provide help to the vulnerable during a pandemic. Yet instead of giving workers the job security and resources they needed, governments of several predominantly agricultural states, including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat, commenced changes to labour laws. These have largely benefitted industries, leaving informal labour more vulnerable than ever.
While the short-term fear of communal tensions has garnered multiple precautions by the government, religious organization belonging to all faiths, as well as police forces, there is the long-term worry that non-Hindu minorities, particularly Muslims, will begin to feel like second class citizens, creating deep division between communities.
Nonetheless, while the World Bank does contribute to some important projects and initiatives, there is still pervasive institutional bias that values the desires of its Western donors over the needs of the developing nations it seeks to assist.