Millennial Asia

Millennial Asia – Issues

Millennial Asia

A SAGE Journal

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Call for Papers Special Issue:

Agricultural Market Reforms and Farmer Protests in India in the context of Agrarian Crisis in South Asia (Vol 12 Issue 3 December 2021)

Please visit the author submission guidelines at:

Thereafter, visit to login and submit your article online.

Please note that manuscripts not conforming to these guidelines may be returned.

Due Date of submission: 30th June 2021


Indian economic reforms began in July 1991 with a focus on industrializing the economy for faster economic development. . During the last three decades, whether the economic reform programme has initiated structural transformation of the Indian economy is still questionable. The agricultural sector’s contribution to the GDP has come down significantly which is expected. However, the dependence of workforce on agricultural sector continues to be high at 44%. The terms of trade have also remained mostly against agriculture and thus, the cost of economic transformation has shifted to agriculture. The economic reform programme could not generate the required dynamism to create enough employment opportunities for the low skill jobs for the rural workforce. In fact, the agricultural sectors in most of the south Asian countries are in similar situation. Agriculture and agricultural markets, as per the Indian constitution, like in some other south Asian countries like Pakistan, are state subjects though the Union government of India has been advising states on the direction of agricultural reforms since the early 2000s in the form of Model Acts for amending state APMC Acts of 1960s and 1970s but the state governments have been carrying out reforms as per their own understanding of the local conditions. At the same time, agricultural sector in India has been facing a multidimensional crisis for some time now including indebtedness of farmers’ and suicides by the landowners and landless farm workers, including women.

It is important to recognize that agriculture in India is quite heterogeneous across states in terms of its nature and level of development and also its problems and policy solutions. One size does not seem to fit all. However, the Union Government of India, during the peak period of Covid-19 pandemic, issued three agricultural market reform ordinances (two new ordinances on farm produce wholesale markets, contract farming and one on amendment to the Essential Commodities Act) in June 2020 and then hurriedly pushed them through the parliament as Acts in September 2020 without following proper procedures and stakeholder consultations with the objective of freeing farm produce markets and attracting private investment in such markets and market channels like contract farming or private wholesale markets.

The various farmer unions which had been demanding freedom from debt and minimum support price (MSP) guarantee from the Government of India for some time, started protests against the farm laws first in Punjab, then Haryana and later across many states in India. Ever since the protests moved to the outskirts of Delhi since late November 2020, there have been several rounds of talks between the farmer unions and the Union government, but no amicable/acceptable solution has been reached. The farmers unions are demanding the repeal of the two new laws (the farmer produce trade and commerce Act which limits the domain of APMCs and makes rest of the trade area free from any regulation, and the Contract Farming Act ) which have been framed by the union government on the domain of states so far, and the amendment to the essential commodities Act which liberalizes the stocking of farm produce by processors, exporters and traders and restricts the government power to intervene to contain prices, while the Union government has been defending the goodness and rationale for the new laws as being beneficial for farmers and necessary for integration of India’s farm produce markets, and only agreeing to amend them wherever farmers union find them problematic. The three contentious farm laws have far reaching consequences both for the producers and the consumers. But it is a big opening in the agribusiness sector for the corporate players where they are being promised one nation-one market, brought in the name of farmer benefits in terms of channel choices and higher prices and market linkage.This long drawn and sustained protest has pinpointed the deep agricultural and agrarian crisis and the role of public policy and regulation for helping it survive the onslaught of the market and also to benefit from it. At the same time, it is not just about India as many other South Asian Countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh or even Sri Lanka have similar agrarian and agricultural market context and governance structures including federal structure. Therefore, it is important to examine the various issues of regulation, policy and practice from a smallholder perspective as most of the Asian countries have predominance of smallholder farms, and to understand the nature and extent of the agrarian crisis and the impact of new farm laws in India on small producers and farm and allied sector workers. This would go a long way in framing a policy and stakeholder response to the ongoing and upcoming regulatory and policy changes including those relating to land and labour.

Research articles not exceeding 8000 words exclusively prepared for the special issue along with an abstract of 150-200 words are invited from development studies scholars, agricultural economists, sociologists, anthropologists, geographers, political scientists, and legal and public policy experts to be submitted online by the 30th of June 2021 on the following and similar topics and aspects of the larger context: 1. Implications of India’s three farm laws for small farmers and consumers from farmer livelihood and food security perspective 2. Nature and dynamics of agrarian crisis in South Asia and individual countries as informed by primary or secondary data analysis 3. Nature and practice of contract farming in any Asian country and lessons for making it inclusive and effective and the role of regulatory and policy systems 4. Experience of food supermarkets in terms of their farmer interface and consumer impact and policy and practice issues 5. Studies of private wholesale markets in India or any other south Asian country 6. Comparative studies of various produce market channels in terms of small producer inclusion, exclusion, benefit and other implications for agricultural markets and the sector. 7. Global experience of corporate entry in farm sector and implications and lessons for India and/or south Asia with case studies from Latin America, Africa, South East Asia and China 8. Improving governance of land and produce markets in South Asian countries in general or specific countries 9. Dynamics of and issue in traditional produce wholesale market governance and implications for small farmers10. Case studies of successful or failed alternative channels like co-operative or producer companies in delivering small farmer livelihoods 11. Experience of price protection for small farmers globally and lessons for south Asia 12. Experience of farmers’ markets globally and contrast with India and other south Asian countries 13. Comparative experience of agricultural produce and land market reforms across south Asia and lessons. 14. Experience and dynamics of farmers’ movements, state response and lessons for public policy. 15. Gender implications of traditional and modern farm produce markets and role of women farmer centric NGOs in such markets. 16. Value chain studies of specific farm produce in terms of stakeholder analysis and public policy issues.

The submitted papers, besides desk review based rejection, would be put through a double blind review process and need to be revised by authors in a time bound manner for being accepted. Accepted papers will be published in the December 2021 issue of the journal. The authors desirous of submitting the paper are requested to strictly follow journal guidelines available on the website while writing the papers.

Book Review Editors

Anindita DasguptaTaylor’s University, Malaysia
Danilo Francisco M. ReyesAteneo de Manila University, Philippines

Editorial Advisory Board

Tilman AltenburgGerman Development Institute, Germany.
Suthipand ChirathivatChulalongkom University, Thailand.
Amrita DaniereUniversity of Toronto, Canada.
Sudhir T. DevareIndian Council of World Affairs, India
Sucha Singh GillPunjabi University, India.
Wang GungwuNational University of Singapore, Singapore.
Hal HillAustralian National University, Australia.
Mike HobdayUniversity of Brighton, UK.
Keun LeeSeoul National University, South Korea.
Raman MahadevanInstitute of Development Alternatives, India.
Reena MarwahJesus and Mary College, University of Delhi, India.
Usman MustafaPakistan Institute of Development Economics, Pakistan.
Lourdes SalvadorAsian Scholarship Foundation, Thailand.
Chih-yu ShihNational Taiwan University, Taiwan
Swaran SinghJawaharlal Nehru University, India.
E. SridharanUniversity of Pennsylvania Institute for Advanced Studies in India, India.
Smita SrinivasColumbia University, USA.
Minqi XuShanghai Academy of Social Sciences, China

Sanjay Kumar Bhardwaj is Chairperson & Professor Centre for South Asian Studies, School of International Studies, JNU. His Areas of Specialization include India’s Foreign Policy with special reference to its Neighbours (Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and China), Bangladesh: Identity, Politics and Foreign Policy issues, South Asia: History of Partition, Identity, Religion, South Asia: Politico-Security, Socio-Cultural Issues. He is the recipient of several awards and fellowships.

Sharad Kumar Soni is a Professor, Centre for Inner Asian Studies, School of International Studies His research interests include Mongolian, Central Asian and Inner Asian Studies with a focus on history, culture, ethnicity, politics and international relations of Mongolia, Kazakhstan as well as Tibet and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regions of China, apart from issues concerning Mongol culture areas of Siberian Republics of Tuva and Buryatia. 

Sanjay Sharma is Professor with Ambedkar University, Delhi. He is a historian, translator and media practitioner. He was educated in Allahabad University (B.A.), Jawaharlal Nehru University (M.A.), Delhi University (M.Phil) and School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (Ph.D). He has researched on aspects of famine, relief, food security, drought, environmental degradation, state welfarism and philanthropy in modern India. He is also interested in issues of poverty, hunger, diet, disease, malnutrition, health and medicine in the colonial period. His wider areas of interest include state formation, popular culture, language and media in northern India. He has been engaged with comparative histories of India, China and Europe.

Reena Marwah is Professor, Jesus and Mary College, University of Delhi, India. Her research interests include international relations, international business and politics of globalization. She was an ICSSR Senior Fellow, MHRD, Govt. of India, from June 2017 to May, 2019 and a Senior Academic Consultant with ICSSR for three years. She is the recipient of several awards and fellowships (including the Robert McNamara fellowship of the World Bank in 1999 and the Asian Scholarship Foundation fellowship in 2002. Her latest book (March 2020), Re-imagining India-Thailand Relations: A Multilateral and Bilateral Perspective, has been published by World Scientific Publishers, Singapore.

Sukhpal Singh is with the Centre for Management in Agriculture (CMA), IIM, Ahmedabad. He has eight books including the recent ones on fresh food retail chains in India (2011), Modern food value chains in India (2012), and producer companies (2014),  and has published more than 100 research papers in international/national journals/edited books, and 50 review articles/articles in popular dailies/magazines. He was a visiting fellow at the IDS, Sussex (Brighton), UK, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, and the University of Manchester; UK.

Lakhwinder Singh is Professor of Economics and Head, Department of Economics, Punjabi University, and Coordinator, Centre for Development Economics and Innovations Studies (CDEIS), Punjabi University. His research interests include development Economics, Systems of Innovation, Human Development and Knowledge-Economy, Rural-Urban Migration, Area Studies (Punjab, India, South Korea, Asia and BRICS). He is the recipient of several awards and fellowships and has published extensively.

Sangeeta Thapliyal, is a Professor at the Centre for Inner Asian Studies, School of International Studies and is currently an ICCR Chair professor in Spain. She works on strategic issues concerning South Asia with a special reference to Nepal. Her areas of research include Water Security in South Asia and Regional Cooperation. Her previous work experience includes the Director, Department of Strategic and Regional Studies, University of Jammu, Observer Research Foundation, Delhi Policy Group and the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies.

B. R. Deepak is a Professor of Chinese and China Studies at the Centre of Chinese and Southeast Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. He is the recipient of many scholarships and awards and has published extensively. He is the author of India and China 1904-2004: A Century of Peace and Conflict (2005), China: Agriculture, Countryside and Peasantry (2010), and Chinese Poetry: From 11th Century BC to 14th Century AD for which he has won China Special Book Award in 2011; India-China Relations: Civilizational Perspective (2012); India-China Relations: Future Perspectives (2012). 

Swaran Singh is Professor for Diplomacy and Disarmament at Centre for International Politics, Organization and Disarmament (CIPOD), School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi). He is President of Association of ASIA Scholars, General Secretary of Indian Association of Asian & Pacific Studies, Guest Professor at Research Institute of Indian Ocean Economies, Yunnan University of Finance and Economics (China) and Advisory Board Member of Atlanta-based Communities Without Borders Inc. (United States). He has numerous publications to his credit.

Dr. E. Sridharan is the Academic Director of the University of Pennsylvania Institute for the Advanced Study of India (UPIASI) in New Delhi. He is a political scientist with research interests in comparative politics and political economy of development, party systems and coalition politics, and international relations theory and conflict resolution in South Asia.

Patricia Uberoi is currently Chairperson and Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Chinese Studies (ICS), Delhi. A sociologist by training, Dr Uberoi has taught Sociology at the University of Delhi and the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and retired as Professor of Social Change and Development at the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi. Her research interests centre on aspects of family, kinship, gender, popular culture and social policy in respect to both India and China.

Ambassador (Retd.) Sudhir T. Devare is a former Indian diplomat who joined the Indian Foreign Service (I.F.S) in 1964. He has worked in several Indian embassies abroad such as Moscow, Washington, Geneva and Myanmar. As Secretary in Ministry of External Affairs (1998-2001) he was closely associated with the evolution and implementation of India’s Look East policy as well as multilateral economic relations with the world. He was a member of the National Security Advisory Board in 2002-03. He was also a Visiting Professor at the Centre of East Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. He has held several positions of eminence, including the position of Director-General of the Indian Council of World Affairs from 2009-2012.

Prasenjit Duara is the Oscar Tang Chair of East Asian Studies at Duke University. He was born and educated in India and received his PhD in Chinese history from Harvard University. He was previously Professor and Chair of the Dept of History and Chair of the Committee on Chinese Studies at the University of Chicago (1991-2008). Subsequently, he became Raffles Professor of Humanities and Director, Asia Research Institute at National University of Singapore (2008-2015). He has published extensively.

Wang Gungwu (b. 9 October 1930, Surabaya, Indonesia–) is an internationally renowned historian famed for his scholarship on the history of the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia, as well as the history and civilisation of China and Southeast Asia. In his illustrious academic career, Wang has held eminent appointments in various universities and organisations around the world. He is currently a professor emeritus at the Australian National University, and a University Professor at the National University of Singapore (NUS), the highest academic title conferred by NUS. He was the Chairperson of the ASF.