by Adam Nash
December 17, 2020
I am convinced that were Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discover the cure for cancer, put a stop to climate change, and eradicate poverty from India all in the same day, he would still be called evil by leftists and communists. They seem determined, as they are with Trump, to paint a picture of Modi as a cunning dictator who lusts for power and hates progress. Yet, the reality could not be further from the truth.
Under Modi’s government, India has transformed from being a major player on the Asian stage, to being a major player on the world stage. In his first term, India’s economy performed fantastically, with the country’s GDP growing rapidly each year and inflation being kept lower than it was under the previous government. Now, during his second term, the economy has been slightly more ropey. Despite this, the equity market is performing well (considering COVID-19) and the economy is recovering better-than-expected from the pandemic. During his premiership, Modi has spent money to help India’s poor, encouraged private businesses to invest in India, and launched multiple healthcare and sanitation initiatives. A true man of the people who is wildly popular in India.
Yet, Modi finds himself under attack again. His ‘crime’- modernizing India’s farming system and trying to make India’s agriculture sector more prosperous and open to investment. Formerly, India’s farmers sold their goods through government-controlled markets, which acted as a sort of middleman between the farmers and large corporations. Modi, seeing that this system was clearly clumsy and inefficient, enabled farmers to sell directly to large corporations in order to free up the market and make it more profitable. Farmers are now allowed to trade online and in person, and state governments cannot charge them for doing so. This will lead to a more successful market, which will benefit farmers as they will be paid more for their produce and be able to sell their crops to a multitude of buyers instead of just the government-run markets. The three new farm laws also allow the government to step in and regulate certain food items in times of national emergency, such as during war or famine.
If Modi did not believe this would work, he would not be trying it. He has, after all, already promised that farmers’ incomes will double by 2022, and if he failed to meet this aim it would be a huge blow to his popularity. The agriculture sector is responsible for around half of all jobs in India, so it is crucial that Modi keeps that portion of the demographic happy if he wants to be re-elected. Unfortunately, leftists (and in India this means many Communist Party supporters too) have used their hatred of capitalism to fear-monger and stir up unrest, claiming that Modi wants to take away the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for farmers, which guaranteed farmers a minimum price for crops regardless of what they were selling for on the open market. Modi has assured the people that the MSP will remain in place, yet leftists are refusing to listen.
The claim that farmers will earn less money as a result of the new laws is simply false. As the market is made freer by Modi’s neo-liberal reforms, the price paid to farmers for their crops will undoubtedly increase. Furthermore, Modi has promised that the MSP will remain in place (even though I doubt it will be necessary after his reforms) and that the new system does not replace the old one; it simply expands the number of options that farmers have. The MSP was never enshrined in law, so the fact that it still is not should not alarm farmers. The farmers are also now freed from the old markets, one of which had been holding back a farmer from Maharashtra’s payment for four months whilst it was pending until the new laws took effect.
Though Modi has repeatedly tried to calm people down, there has been widespread unrest amongst farmers, many of whom are from the Punjab and Haryana states of India. On the 26th of November, 250 million farmers participated in a general strike, making it the largest strike in human history. It seems evident by now that these protestors have fallen victim to leftist propaganda and are unwilling to at least give Modi’s reforms a try. There are currently thousands of farmers camped outside India’s capital who are refusing to move until the three laws which liberalized the agriculture sector are repealed. This could prove disastrous for both the Indian economy and the Indian food markets, as it means less farmers are working to feed the country. It is better for both themselves, their livelihoods, and their country if the farmers end their protests and wake up to the fact that these laws will benefit them significantly.
Yet, these protests are not as innocent as they may seem. They have been infiltrated by communists and Sikh separatists (most of the protestors are Sikh). The protests are about more than just the farm laws. They are about long-standing ideological tensions in India. Communists do not like Modi’s reforms as they do not wish for the farmers to be free; they want them controlled by the state. Sikh Separatists are using the reforms as an excuse to call for the formation of ‘Khalistan’, a Sikh country in Northern India and Eastern Pakistan. And, in a turn of events that comes as a surprise to absolutely nobody, many Western ‘Social Justice Warriors’ have been quick to show their support online for protests they know little about and denounce laws they do not understand.
It appears that, despite him pushing for reforms that genuinely benefit the people of his country, the left has once again found an opportunity to attack Narendra Modi for doing good. No matter how many times he promises the new laws will give farmers more freedom, no matter how many times he says the MSP will stay in place, no matter how many times he promises the laws will empower farmers, the left refuses to listen. I fully support Narendra Modi and the new farm laws. I believe in judging a tree by its fruits, and I am confident that the seed planted by Modi’s new laws will grow to produce prosperity and freedom.