According to the State of Environment in Figures 2021 report released by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), there was a fivefold increase in major farmers’ protests since 2017.
- In 2017, there were 34 major protests across 15 States. The number has now shot up to 165 protests across 22 States and Union Territories.
- This was due to the three contentious Central farm laws, apart from procurement and agricultural market price-related failures.
- 12 of these are pan-India protests, including 11 agitations against the three farm reform laws introduced last year.
- Battles against acquisition of farm land for development projects, including highway and airport construction, are the prime cause of 17 agitations.
- At least seven agitations have been to demand loan waivers or to protest poor insurance coverage and delayed compensation.
- Although Punjab and Haryana farmers have caught the limelight for the recent protests outside Delhi, data shows that the largest number of recent protests have taken place in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
- The report notes that India now has more farm labourers than landowning farmers and cultivators. This is true in 52% of the country’s districts, as well as in all districts of Bihar and Kerala.
- More than 28 agricultural workers and cultivators end their lives every day. The latest data available shows that 5,957 farmers and an additional 4,324 farm labourers died by suicide in 2019.