India is witnessing the farmers’ protest over the recently passed bills related to Agricultural reforms. So far, the discussion between the government and the farmers has failed to make any headway, and as a result, the protest is continuing for weeks now. Commenting on the adverse impact of this farm protest over the economy, Union Minister of the Civil Aviation and Housing & Urban Affairs in India, Hardeep Singh Puri, said that the ongoing protest could hurt the Indian economy, offsetting the improvements in the demand for many industries.
Elaborating on the impact, the Union Minister said that as agriculture contributed to several companies cutting across industries, the ongoing disruption in the agriculture sector was bound to have an adverse impact on the country’s economic outlook in the future. This is specifically concerning as the Indian economy is among the worst-hit economies in the world due to Covid-19. It suffered its biggest jolt by recording a negative growth of 23.9% in the April-June quarter of the FY 2020-21 due to strict lockdown imposed by the government. However, the economy made a swift recovery in the second quarter by lowering the negative growth rate to 7.5%. The significance of the agriculture sector for the Indian economy is huge. A chunk of India’s population (around 60%) is still dependent upon farming. The agriculture sector contributes around 15% of the country’s GDP, and importantly, the farm output is used as input by many allied sectors.
Farmers are now protesting for weeks against the three new farm bills passed by the Indian Parliament recently. Touted as landmark agriculture reforms, these bills aim to bring comprehensive reforms in the country’s agriculture sector. However, farmers not happy with these new laws and protesting that these will have an adverse impact on their income. The farming community is also complaining that these laws are in favor of corporates while their interest has not been taken into account while framing these laws.