Oxford University 02 April (PR/BAN) The Indian Farm Reforms have struck a chord with many British Indians, particularly with those that hail from the Panjab region. These laws, and protests surrounding them, have created much debate and interest from the Indian diaspora. Due to the spread of misinformation and the formation of echo chambers we polled the British Indian community on their thoughts regarding the laws, the protests, and what the response of our communities should be.
Despite the lack of clarity on if the laws are appropriate or not for India, most British Indians want the response to be ”setting up a trade arrangement with Indian farmers supported by the UK government” (47%) and ”purchasing goods directly from the farmers” (43%). This presents a real opportunity for the UK Government, given the upcoming UK-India trade deal. Moreover, for us British Indians to set up our own trade bodies and to buy farmer produce directly at a fair and sustainable price.
When probed into where respondents received information on the new laws, the top 3 responses were WhatsApp forwards (38%) social media accounts (37%), and influencers (34%). Mainstream media came substantially lower, and public intellectuals and Indian news channels were amongst the fewest chosen at 15% and 18% respectively.
We are witnessing the world’s largest protest in India [1,2]. Reports of mistreatment, including that of almost 250 farmers died admits the protests , prompted a Parliamentary debate earlier in March.
What can we as British Indians do?
1. Not only would a UK-India trade deal provide sustainable support for the famers, it would immediately provide assistance,
2. We urge the UK Government to create a task-force to engage
with subject matter experts that feeds into the Indo-Brit trade deal.
The task force should ensure a fair and sustainable outcome, including accommodating for the needs of India’s farmers and climate change concerns.
Through the commonwealth secretariat agenda, we are obliged to support democracy, government, and rule of law across the commonwealth nations. Given the downgrading of India’s democracy and the allegations against peaceful assembly and free speech, we should fulfil our obligations under the Commonwealth secretariat agenda to support India, for example with
independent reviews and technical assistance.
March 2021 Indian Farm Reforms Recommendations
Kiran added “The overwhelming request to support farmers in India through a fair and sustainable UK-India trade deal, regardless of thoughts towards the Reforms or protests, demonstrates the solidarity of British Indians.”
“British Indians are calling for a fair and sustainable UK-India trade deal with the farmers, and we are also urging the UK Government to adhere to the Commonwealth secretariat agenda. Given the upcoming PM visit to India and trade deal discussions, a task-force on the UK-India trade deal with input from experts in the community should be urgently pursued.”
Baroness Sandip Verma, Parliamentarian and Chair of UN Women (UK) says “It is not surprising that so many members of the Indian Diaspora are wanting to show support for the wellbeing of Indian farmers in India. Let us all ensure that as we engage in a bilateral trade deal after transition, that it is one that provides ethical and sustainable pricing structures.”
What is Pulse & Policy
Pulse & Policy are short, topical surveys designed to poll the British Indian community on timely and pressing issues. This series of surveys will be used to present an analysis of our views to the community-at-large, policy-makers, media, and other key stakeholders.
Why research into the Indian Farm Reforms? The topics are chosen due to members of our community discussing these issues. The Farm Reform questions were of particular interest as members of our community wanted to know what we can do to improve farmers’ livelihoods in India.
The methodology employed to carry out the survey questions integrated feedback from engagement with stakeholders including academics, community leaders, community organisations, and members of the British Indian communities. The participant were recruited via social media including Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp, in addition to emails through the 1928 Institute mailing list.
Recruitment targeted diverse audiences and included many who participated in the British Indian Census. 150 participants were surveyed of whom are 50% female, 47% male, and 3% non-binary. The age of participants ranged from 16-85, with a mean of 36-40. Participants span all regions of the UK with the majority from Greater London (35%), West Midlands (16%), and East Midlands (15%), and the minority from Wales (1%), Northern Ireland (1%). and the South West (3%). Although the regions in the UK are diverse, almost half (46%) of participants have heritage from Panjab, followed by Gujarat (27%). The participants were comprise of different political backgrounds with 33% ‘currently inclined to support’ the Conservative Party, 31% the Labour Party, whilst 18% opted for ‘none’ Design and Analysis: The survey was conducted on Type form during Wednesday 16th – Tuesday 22nd December 2020. A frequency analysis was conducted for each survey item. This is to ensure the patterns in the data are clear when multiple options were available.
By 1928 Institute (www.1928institute.org)