The government provides them generous subsidies, exemption from income tax and crop insurance. They are guaranteed prices for 23 crops and debts are waived when they are unable to pay off loans. “Now the government is saying, we will get out of the way, and asking us to deal directly with big businesses. But we didn’t demand this in the first place! So why are they doing this to us?” Mr Vyas told me.
At the root of this anger is the Indian farmers’ deep distrust of market reforms.