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Opinion

Bharat Bandh: everything you need to know right now

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Tens of thousands of farmers protesting a set of market-friendly farm laws are imposing a nationwide shutdown from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday. The main opposition parties have supported his call to strike. Farmers have been stocking up for months of supplies, preparing to dig for months on the New Delhi borders. So far the strike has been peaceful but has suffocated the capital. Here’s what to expect during the day:

How will Bharat Bandh impact you?

The impact of the strike is likely to be felt most in New Delhi and its adjacent satellite cities. The crisis has already jammed traffic in New Delhi at many points. Routes from Delhi to Meerut, Haryana and Punjab are blocked, police said Tuesday. A notice on the Delhi Traffic Police Twitter account has a list of alternative routes that travelers can take.

What is open and what is closed?

The banks are running while the banking unions have withdrawn their support for the strike. The main primary agricultural markets across the country are closed, making it difficult to transport basic goods. The two main Railways unions, the Railway Federation of India (AIRF) and the National Railway Federation of India (NFIR), have supported the farmers’ strike, which may affect the operation of trains. Flights and airports operate as usual.

Why are farmers protesting?

Farmers want the Narendra Modi government to repeal three contentious laws passed by Parliament in September. The laws basically change the way India’s farmers do business by creating free markets, as opposed to a decades-old network of government-controlled agricultural markets.

See LIVE updates from Bharat Bandh here

What do the new laws contain?

Laws allow companies to freely trade agricultural products outside of the government-controlled so-called “mandi system”, allow private traders to store large quantities of commodities for future sales, which previously only government-approved agents could do , and establish new rules for contract farming.

What do the changes aim to achieve?

The government has relied on a reform agenda to reform India’s antiquated agriculture. Deregulation of markets will pave the way for competition in agricultural markers, which currently operate under an archaic licensing system. Increasing traders’ food storage limits will spur private investments in supply chains and the cold chain, which are in short supply, officials say.

Why are farmers opposed to these new rules?

Farmers say the reforms would make them vulnerable to exploitation by large corporations, erode their bargaining power, and weaken the government’s procurement system, whereby the government buys commodities, such as wheat and rice, at guaranteed prices. .

How will the government solve the crisis?

The Modi government has so far held six rounds of talks with farmers’ unions, but they have refused to call off the strike, rejecting a proposal to amend the laws. They have adhered to their demand to repeal the laws. The next round of talks is scheduled for December 9.

Does the farmers’ rebellion pose a risk to the government?

Modi’s popularity has been sustained despite the pandemic due to his wellness policies and strong personal appeal. His party won the elections in Bihar last month. However, the new farm laws have shaken his administration and pose a political challenge. More than half of the population depends on agricultural income.

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