Thank you for contacting me about farming reforms in India.
I understand that the Indian Government has recently passed a series of bills which introduce reforms to farming in India. While this is of course an internal matter for the Indian Government, I appreciate the concerns you have about the impact these reforms will have, particularly on [the Sikh community AND/OR the livelihoods of farmers in India], and will ensure that Ministers are aware of them.
I know that the Government is conscious of concerns in India, and from communities in the UK, about the agricultural reforms and I am encouraged that the Foreign Secretary discussed protests on this issue with his counterpart, Minister of Exterior Affairs Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, during his visit to India in December.
UK assistance: I am told that the UK supports marginalised farmers through technical assistance programmes which strengthen the quality and productivity of local natural resource infrastructure, and by building state and local government capabilities to deliver improved social protection.
ITCF/Pesticides and the Minimum Support Price: I appreciate your particular concerns about what you consider to be shortfalls of the Infrastructure Technical Co-operation Facility (ITCF) and the abolition of the Minimum Support Price. FCDO Ministers are aware of the strength of feeling on these issues.
Peaceful Protest: The UK believes that the right to peaceful protest is a fundamental freedom that should be guaranteed in democratic societies. Democratic governments also have the power to enforce law and order if a protest crosses the line into illegality. I know that Ministers continue to urge restraint and proportionality in any response to peaceful protest, encourage all sides to respect the rule of law and basic freedoms, and refrain from violence.
It is because of the UK’s close relationship with the Government of India that difficult issues can be discussed, and concerns raised, where they exist. I will be following developments closely.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP