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Nov 30, 2018 04:01 PM IST | Agriculture

Angry farmers march towards parliament to highlight their plight

Tens of thousands of farmers and rural workers marched to the parliament in the capital, New Delhi, on Friday in a protest against soaring operating costs and plunging produce prices that have brought misery to many.

The protest is one of the biggest displays of frustration with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, which faces a tough general election due by May next year. India's 263 million farmers make up an important voting bloc.

Low food prices, export curbs, anti-inflation policies that keep rural incomes low and a broad shift from subsidies to investment spending have all infuriated and demoralised farmers.

Agriculture contributes about 15 percent to India's $2.6 trillion economy, Asia's third-largest, but employs nearly half of its 1.3 billion people.

Farmers from more than 200 groups began gathering in New Delhi on Thursday. They are demanding that the government call a special session of parliament to discuss the crisis in the countryside.

Image Source: Associated Press (AP)/Reuters

Farmers march towards the parliament house during a rally to protest soaring farm operating costs and plunging prices of their produce, in New Delhi, November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
Farmers march towards the parliament house during a rally to protest soaring farm operating costs and plunging prices of their produce, in New Delhi, November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
Thousands of farmers march towards the parliament house during a rally to protest soaring farm operating costs and plunging prices of their produce, in New Delhi, November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
Thousands of farmers march towards the parliament house during a rally to protest soaring farm operating costs and plunging prices of their produce, in New Delhi, November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
Farmers wave flags and shout slogans as they march towards Ramlila Ground during a protest rally demanding a complete waiver of debt and fixed assurances on crop prices, in New Delhi, November 29, 2018. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis
Farmers wave flags and shout slogans as they march towards Ramlila Ground during a protest rally demanding a complete waiver of debt and fixed assurances on crop prices, in New Delhi, November 29, 2018. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis
Farmers march on a flyover during a protest rally demanding loan waivers and the transfer of forest lands to villagers who have farmed there for decades, in Mumbai, November 22, 2018. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas
Farmers march on a flyover during a protest rally demanding loan waivers and the transfer of forest lands to villagers who have farmed there for decades, in Mumbai, November 22, 2018. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas
Farmers assemble at a meeting point before their march towards Ramlila Ground during a protest rally demanding a complete waiver of debt and fixed assurances on crop prices, in New Delhi, India, November 29, 2018. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis
Farmers assemble at a meeting point before their march towards Ramlila Ground during a protest rally demanding a complete waiver of debt and fixed assurances on crop prices, in New Delhi, India, November 29, 2018. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis
A combination pictures shows (clockwise from top L) Durgam Chinnaka, 38, Radha, 25, Akula Divya, 21, Bikshapati, 46, Swarupa, 28, and Subhadra, 40, holding pictures of their relatives, who according to them have committed suicide over huge debts, before attending a protest rally by farmers across the country demanding a complete waiver on debt and fixed assurances on crop prices, in New Delhi, November 29, 2018. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis
A combination pictures shows (clockwise from top L) Durgam Chinnaka, 38, Radha, 25, Akula Divya, 21, Bikshapati, 46, Swarupa, 28, and Subhadra, 40, holding pictures of their relatives, who according to them have committed suicide over huge debts, before attending a protest rally by farmers across the country demanding a complete waiver on debt and fixed assurances on crop prices, in New Delhi, November 29, 2018. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis
Santhibai, a 50-year old farmer, attends a protest rally demanding loan waivers and the transfer of forest lands to villagers who have farmed there for decades, in Mumbai, November 22, 2018. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas
Santhibai, a 50-year old farmer, attends a protest rally demanding loan waivers and the transfer of forest lands to villagers who have farmed there for decades, in Mumbai, November 22, 2018. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas
Family members of farmers carry photographs of their relatives who committed suicide as they arrive for a two day’s protest in New Delhi, India, Thursday, November 29, 2018. Failed harvests force poor farmers to borrow money at high interest rates to buy seeds, fertilizers and food for their cattle. They often mortgage their land and, as debts mount, some are driven to suicide. Placard on right reads,
Family members of farmers carry photographs of their relatives who committed suicide as they arrive for a two day’s protest in New Delhi, India, Thursday, November 29, 2018. Failed harvests force poor farmers to borrow money at high interest rates to buy seeds, fertilizers and food for their cattle. They often mortgage their land and, as debts mount, some are driven to suicide. Placard on right reads, "People who share crops have also have the rights of farmers". (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Farmers, workers and agricultural laborers wave red communist flags as they arrive for a two day’s protest in New Delhi, India, Thursday, November 29, 2018. Farmers have been protesting demanding redressal of various issues in the agriculture sector. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Farmers, workers and agricultural laborers wave red communist flags as they arrive for a two day’s protest in New Delhi, India, Thursday, November 29, 2018. Farmers have been protesting demanding redressal of various issues in the agriculture sector. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Farmers, workers and agricultural laborers wave red communist flags as they arrive for a two day’s protest in New Delhi, India, Thursday, November 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Farmers, workers and agricultural laborers wave red communist flags as they arrive for a two day’s protest in New Delhi, India, Thursday, November 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
A family member of a farmer carries photograph of her relative who committed suicide as farmers arrive for a two day’s protest in New Delhi, India, Thursday, November 29, 2018.  Placard on right reads,
A family member of a farmer carries photograph of her relative who committed suicide as farmers arrive for a two day’s protest in New Delhi, India, Thursday, November 29, 2018.  Placard on right reads, "Debt free farmer- Suicide free India". (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Farmers, workers and agricultural laborers wave red communist flags as they arrive for a two day’s protest in New Delhi, India, Thursday, November 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Farmers, workers and agricultural laborers wave red communist flags as they arrive for a two day’s protest in New Delhi, India, Thursday, November 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
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