My only focused question: Are Indian farm acts, which were and are in news, anti-environment?

For those willing to read why I am asking, read it below. It is incomplete research.

A. Environmentalists star kids have tweeted, retweeted tweets that support farmers protesting. It is difficult to find all such people simply because I have never cared about them much. Anyways here are some.

A.1. "Week 21th #ClimateStrikeEarth in #India. I stand with Indian Farmers who are fighting for their rights. Farmer is the backbone of every living lives. No Farmer No Food No Future.

#FarmersProtestDelhi2020 #FarmBills2020 #FaceTheClimateEmergency #FridaysForFuture @GretaThunberg"

-Retweeted by Greta Thunberg

A.2. "Hope my voice will reach all over the world.

No farmers, No food.

No justice, No rest.

#FightFor1Point5 #FarmersProtests #ActNow"

-Tweeted by Licypriya Kanjugam

There are others. To save space, I am restricting to two here.

B. Is it about fear of food shortage or are those acts anti-environment?

My news feed gave me an interesting article today. It is an interview from an Indian minister, who claims India produces lots of food grains, and so he wants to produce ethanol from rice and sugarcane. sounds fair, if everyone gets to eat first.

Details and clarity: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/nitin-gadkari-coronavirus-lockdown-farmers-bill-protests-electric-vehicles-tesla-plant-india-7131732/

C. From a previous question here, where my answer was not accepted, something about stubble burning is mentioned. Isn't it good if burning is restricted! No smoke!

Many people here are experienced about politics, law, economics, sciences, social sciences. Forgive my lack of knowledge, everything above (A,B,C) seems strange to me. I want to know about the question. So, my question remains same, are Indian farm acts anti-environment? How?

  • I don't see how tweets can serve as an accurate gauge of policy effects on something as complicated as farming reform. While Modi's governance is not to be trusted, agriculture policy in general is often at odds with either economics, environment or indeed anyone not part of the farming interest groups. Whoever "has the most tweets" isn't necessarily right. – Italian Philosophers 4 Monica Jan 4 at 16:27

In my understanding, they are not anti environment but pro environment. Because (I'll answer only from environment perspective)

Overall, new farm laws allow for competitive pricing of the crops which might allow for more commercial crops other than wheat and paddy to be grown. The issue with wheat and paddy in this case is that, GoI gives Minimum Support Price(MSP) for wheat and paddy crops which is basically a guaranteed price above the market price. Due to this everyone in those areas of Punjab, Haryana grow wheat and paddy predominantly to get the fixed MSP so as to eliminate any risks of low price. This is one of the good things which made India food surplus in the past and the bad thing is the surplus reached so high that the quantity is roughly 2.5 times the required level. So this brought storage issues and logistic issues.

The environment angle here is, paddy and wheat are water intensive crops and growing these crops to such an extent in these areas has caused the water table to drastically reduce which is an environmental concern. The multiplier effect of this environmental concern is one more major and often very famous issue, the Delhi air pollution. In order to tackle the water table reduction Punjab's, Punjab's Preservation of sub-soil water, 2009 act was passed which basically prohibited farmers to sow the Paddy seeds and transplant them before a time (May 10 and June 10 respectively) in order to prevent the depletion of already low water table due to peak summer. This offsets the time of the year so that water table is restored due to rains. Now this law had it's effect via stubble burning as most of the farmers who otherwise used to remove the crop and burn the stubble a bit early now are happened to do it a bit late due to this law which exactly co-incides with the other pollution factors like Temperature inversion etc over Delhi. So tackling the first environmental issue created a second one. So by bringing these new bills, atleast we can expect diversity in cropping patterns which in domino effect might as well tackle the environment for good.

  • So the shift in production would make sense, but that it's accompanied with a decrease in income is why there are large-scale protests. – Simon Richter Jan 5 at 16:36
  • Protests and the legitimacy of farmer claims is again a debatable topic. Both the government and farmers are very strong on their opinions and trying to convince each other. But as a reply to your comment, "decrease in income" - I don't think so, the acts were made to privatize production to allow for competitive pricing but that was expected, what farmers stand is that they are well off now with the MSP they're getting so they don't want to go into this new competition game (rem that protests are done only by farmers of 2 states, and they're the richest farmers of India) – Hari Prasad Jan 7 at 0:33

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