Regulate or Not? Retelling Kerala’s Experience to Review the Neoliberal Agenda behind Agricultural Reforms in India
Keywords:Agriculture, Kerala, Middlemen, MSP, Reform
This paper is an analysis of the controversial reforms introduced in the agricultural market of India in 2020. The researcher does a comprehensive review of these reforms using data obtained from Kerala and interlinks the components in the existing literature to proceed for a macro-level examination. This is to critically understand the policy dimensions of the laws introduced and their subsequent repeal. The background and evolution of market-mediated reforms in the agricultural sector, the immediate drive for a new set of laws, the question of middlemen in the market, the structural inequalities, and the resultant power asymmetry in Indian rural society are addressed. There are also informed suggestions for possible ways to guarantee a Minimum Support Price (MSP). More than a systemic critique of the newly introduced (and later repealed) farm laws, the real problems in the agricultural market are placed to check the changing direction and agenda in market reforms.
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