There have been multiple farmers protests across India in the last few years. Agriculture employs more than 50% of India’s workforce according to the Economic Survey of India 2017-18. India’s farm and agricultural labourers are distressed and at the brink of bankruptcy following successive droughts. Farm and agriculture growth has decelerated and according to a survey conducted by the Centre of Studies in Developing Societies conducted across 5,000 Indian farm households, 76% would prefer work other than farm labour.
In March 2018, thousands of farmers from across the state of Maharashtra walked to India’s financial capital, Mumbai, protesting lower prices of produce, increasing capital costs. Benefits of government schemes and policies mostly go to big farmers having landholding of 10 acres (4.05 hectare) and above. Only 10 per cent of poor and small farmers with average land holding of 1-4 acres (0.4 to 1.6 ha) have benefited from government schemes and subsidies.
The farmers blame state and Central governments for their present condition as 74 per cent of those interviewed alleged they do not get any farming-related information from officials of the agriculture department. In November, thousands from across the country walked to the country’s parliament in the capital city of New Delhi. Farmers in India have been demanding better crop prices, loan waivers and drought relief.