The number of major farm protests increased from 34 across 15 states in 2017 to 165 protests across 22 states and Union Territories in 2021, the CSE’s compendium of statistics on key issues of development shows.
Farmer protests’ figures, mainly compiled from different media reports till May, show that the majority of the protests in 2020 and 2021 were directly or indirectly related to the ongoing agitation demanding repeal of the three central farm laws and pressing for legal guarantee to procurement at minimum support price (MSP).
Issues on farm laws and MSP had led to 12 pan-India protests and multiple smaller standalone protests in different states ever since the farmers of Punjab and Haryana launched their current agitation in June last year. The other farmer protests in different states were related to farm infrastructure, crop insurance, loan waiver, fertilizer, land acquisition and irrigation (water-sharing disputes).
Besides Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, the other states which saw farmers’ protests during 2020-21 (up to May) include Odisha, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Kerala and others.
The CSE e-report ‘State of India’s Environment in Figures 2021’, released on World Environment Day last week, also compiled other key data on farmers which may help policymakers guide their intervention in the farm sector.
Sourcing the data from publicly available reports, the compendium shows that India has more farm labourers than the landholder cultivators, noting that the population of farm labourers has outstripped that of cultivators in 52% of the country’s districts.
Two states – Bihar and Kerala – and UT of Puducherry have, in fact, more farm labourers than landholder cultivators in all their districts. The report shows that the population of farm labourers was quite high compared to that of cultivators in percentage term in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala and Odisha.
The CSE also analysed the land records data and said Odisha, Maharashtra and 12 other states have seen a deterioration in the quality of their land records in 2020-21.
“The performance of 10 other states/UTs have remained unchanged since 2019-20,” it said while referring to states’ performance in terms of digitisation, map, survey, registration process and land use records among others.