After over one year of agitation over farm laws, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Friday that the Centre will repeal the three controversial laws. PM Modi apologised and conceded that the government failed to convince a section of farmers over the farm laws. He said the three contentious laws will be repealed during this month’s Parliament session.
“I apologise to India and with true and pure heart that may be… we were not able to convince farmers [over the farm laws]. I’m here to declare that we have decided to repeal the three farm laws…We will complete all the formalities during Parliament session that begins this month,” PM Modi said in his address to the nation on Friday.
PM Modi also urged farmers “to return home to their families and let’s start afresh”.
Parliament passed the three farm laws in September last year. They had first come in the month of June as the three Ordinances before being approved by Parliament during the Monsoon Session by a voice vote.
These laws are — The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.
The protests over these farm laws have been raging on for over one year now. Thousands of farmers have been camping near Delhi border areas, demanding the repeal of these laws. After over one year, the Centre has now decided to withdraw the laws that have been a bone of contention between farmers and the government.
WHAT ARE THESE 3 FARM LAWS ABOUT?
The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act provides for setting up a mechanism allowing the farmers to sell their farm produces outside the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs). Any licence-holder trader can buy the produce from the farmers at mutually agreed prices. This trade of farm produces will be free of mandi tax imposed by the state governments.
The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act allows farmers to do contract farming and market their produces freely.
The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act is an amendment to the existing Essential Commodities Act. This law now frees items such as foodgrains, pulses, edible oils and onion for trade except in extraordinary (read crisis) situations.
Meanwhile, the MSP assurance had emerged as the main sticking point in the farmers’ protest. There was an apprehension among the farmers that allowing outside-APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) trade of farm produces would lead to lesser buying by the government agencies in the approved mandis. The protesting farmers say the new laws would thus make the MSP system irrelevant and they would not have any assured income from their farming.
While addressing the nation, PM Modi said, “Whatever I did, I did for farmers. What I’m doing is for the country. With your blessings, I never left out anything in my hard work. Today I assure you that I’ll now work even harder, so that your dreams, and the nation’s dreams can be realised.”
“We worked to provide farmers with seeds at reasonable rates and facilities like micro-irrigation, 22 crore soil health cards. Such factors have contributed to increased agricultural production. We strengthened Fasal Bima Yojana, brought more farmers under it,” PM Modi said.
“To ensure that farmers get the right amount for their hard work, many steps were taken. We strengthened the rural infrastructure market. We not only increased MSP but also set up record government procurement centres. Procurement by our government broke the record of past several decades,” PM Modi said.