The Indian government has procured 26 percent more rice fields, known as paddies, this harvest season year-on-year, while farmers continue their protests against the new farm laws brought about by the Modi government, fearing the loss of minimum price guarantees for agricultural goods and the corporatisation of agriculture.
Data from the federal Ministry of Agriculture released on Wednesday reveals that the Narendra Modi government has procured over 513.19 metric tonnes of paddy as of 5 January. "This is an increase of 26.18% against last year's corresponding purchase of 406.70 metric tonnes."
The procurement by the government has been done under the Minimum Support Price (MSP) mechanism, under which the state procures farm produce from the farmers at a government rate announced at the end of the harvest season. This ensures that farms don't operate at a loss.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana staes, are protesting on Delhi's borders against the new farm laws to express their anger as they fear the MSP system is being diluted, as the new laws now allow farmers to enter into supply contracts with any procurer across the country.
The government has repeatedly maintained that the system of MSP will continue even with the new laws in place.
Demanding a repeal of the farm laws, the farmers have been camping in protest on the outskirts of the Indian capital at Singhu and Tikri borders since November.