INTRODUCTION: Farmers and farm workers in India have taken to the streets to press for higher prices and better wages.
BTV Thousands of farmers carrying banners through streets of Bombay. (2 SHOTS)
SV Women in demonstration carrying babies and chanting.
TGV PAN Farmers marching carrying flags and banners. (4 SHOTS)
SV Farmers at rally listening to speaker.
SV Speaker at microphone.
TGV PAN Over large crowd.
GV Riot police standing by. (2 SHOTS)
TV PAN Crowd listening to speakers. (4 SHOTS)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: Farmers and farm workers in India have taken to the streets to press for higher prices and better wages. In Bombay, the main downtown streets were blocked on Tuesday (3 March) as thousands of protestors converged on the town hall. It was the latest in a series of marches which began in December.
SYNOPSIS: The farmers say prices for farm produce are being kept low to spare funds for investment in industry. They have begun a campaign to bring prices up to what they say is a reasonable level. They were joined by farm labourers, who want higher wages for their work.
The protests began in the Western state of Mararashtra, and later spread throughout the country. Farmers in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, have already received higher prices for sugar cane but they say it is not enough. They also want increases for cotton and rice.
The farmers' demands have been resisted by the Prime Minister, Mrs. Gandhi. She says giving way would only worsen inflation. Two weeks ago supporters of the government staged their own rally. This was the farmers' reply:
The protests have come at a time when agriculture in India is booming. Record crops have been reported, and the country has emerged as a net exporter of food. But the farmers' leaders say those who work the land have not received the benefits of this boom. So far the government has not been impressed with their arguments, and the policy of pay restraint remains in force.