The Indian government currently buys only rice and wheat from state funds at controlled prices, benefitting barely six percent of India's millions of farmers.

The protest movement launched by farmers more than a year ago has become the most serious political challenge to the Indian government.
The protest movement launched by farmers more than a year ago has become the most serious political challenge to the Indian government. (Reuters)

Indian farmers have held a mass rally to demand that the government should extend price support to all produce, not just rice and wheat.

Flushed with victory after Prime Minister Narendra Modi caved into demands for agricultural reform laws to be repealed, thousands of Indian farmers gathered for the latest rally on Monday in Lucknow, the capital of India's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh.

"Our battle is only half won," prominent farmers' leader Joginder Singh Ugrahan said in an address to about 5,000 farmers waving flags of various farmer and labour organisations.

"Our protests will end once the government passes the law on Minimum Support Prices (MSP)."

The protest movement launched by farmers more than a year ago became the most serious political challenge to the government and resulted in Modi making a surprise commitment on Friday to roll back the reforms.

READ MORE: Farm Laws fiasco: How much does Modi stand to lose?

Open letter to PM

Currently, the government mainly buys rice and wheat at minimum support prices or guaranteed prices, but the safety net benefits barely six percent of India's millions of farmers.

In a letter addressed to Modi on Sunday, the main farmers' body said, "Minimum Support Price, based on the comprehensive cost of production, should be made a legal entitlement of all farmers (and) for all agricultural produce  ..."

Farmers also asked in the letter for the federal government  to withdraw a draft electricity bill, which they fear would lead to state governments withdrawing their right to free or subsidised power used mainly for irrigation.

Farmers have also asked the government to drop fines and other penalties for burning their fields after harvesting to remove stalk and chaff.

The smoke has become a major source of air pollution in Delhi and satellite towns bordering the crop growing northern states.

READ MORE: Why are Indian farmers protesting for over a year?

Source: Reuters