Whom and What to Fight? Some Notes and Queries on Indian Farmers Collective Action under Liberalisation and Globalisation

Staffan Lindberg

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceedingpeer-review


Farmers’ movements arose in Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Karnataka, Maharashtra and U.P in the early 1970s as a result of the broad state intervention in commercial agricultural development, especially the green revolution technology and electrified pump-irrigation. Since the state had already organised farmers in service cooperatives, farmers’ movements took an explicitly political form agitating for better production conditions including prices on inputs, credit terms, tariffs and output prices. By and large they were non-party political movements, but because of their strength in the five key states they managed to influence party politics and direct government policies in farmer friendly directions. When the neo-liberal agenda reached India around 1990, the farmers’ movement split on the issue of liberalisation and globalisation of the agricultural economy. Policy changes in the field of agriculture were slow to materialise, however, not just because of the special status of agriculture and farmers objections and it was only gradually that the new agenda was implemented. In fact, many of the old features of state intervention were kept in tact, like for example the Minimum Support Price system for a number of basic crops. However, by gradually lowering the amount of finance devoted to agriculture, the old policy was eroded. Due to this, farmers today face severe economic hardships in terms of falling and fluctuating prices on their produce, more expensive inputs and credit, and a lacking infra-structural development. But who is responsible for this when politics of state intervention is gradually dismantled, the agrarian economy diversified and the market rules. Who will respond when farmers protest about their situation? What are the political opportunities in this new situation?
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
Publication statusUnpublished - 2005
EventPunjab Peasantry in Turmoil - Punjab University, Patiala, India
Duration: 2005 Jan 27 → …


ConferencePunjab Peasantry in Turmoil
CityPunjab University, Patiala
Period2005/01/27 → …

Bibliographical note

The paper will be published in anthology from the conference.

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)

Free keywords

  • Tamil Nadu
  • sociologi
  • Maharashtra
  • Punjab
  • states
  • farmers movements
  • India
  • sociology
  • political science


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