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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • "We have decided to repeal three farm laws. We will finish the constitutional process to repeal the law in the upcoming Parliament session”, Prime Minister Modi said during a special address to the nation on Guru Nanak Jayanti.
  • On Friday morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a major announcement, stating that the Central Government will take steps to repeal three contentious farm laws.
  • The Prime Minister stated that, despite the fact that the laws were enacted to benefit farmers, the government was unable to persuade them, and a section of the farming community was opposed to the laws.

BACKGROUND

  • The three thorny farm laws - Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; (2) Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020; and (3)Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 enacted by the Parliament in September 2020, have been vehemently opposed by a number of farmer organisations.
  • Several farmer groups across the country have been holding widespread protests and agitations for over a year, demanding that these laws be repealed.
  • The three laws prohibited farm produce stock limits except in times of war or famine, allowed farm produce trading outside wholesale markets without state levies, and established a legislative framework for contract farming.
  • The Supreme Court stayed the implementation of these laws until further orders were issued in January 2021, in order to facilitate a process of negotiation between the Centre and the protesting groups. The Supreme Court had also formed a committee to facilitate the talks.
  • The committee, however, was boycotted by the leaders of the farmers' unions.
  • The farmers' main complaint was that the laws will result in the dismantling of the state-run Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees and the disruption of the Minimum Support Price mechanism. Farmers who are protesting fear that the laws will open the door to corporate exploitation.
  • A slew of petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court, questioning the legality of these farm laws as well as the Parliament's competence to enact them.
  • According to an October 2021 news report, nearly 600 people were killed during the year-long protests.
  • As part of the protests, protesters organised a tractor parade in Delhi on Republic Day, which resulted in violent events in the national capital and at the Red Fort.

POLITICAL VIEW

  • The announcement comes months before assembly elections in agrarian states such as Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, where farmers have been protesting farm laws.
  • In an effort to regain the support of disgruntled farmers ahead of the last general election, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government announced an income support scheme for small farmers in its earlier budget.
  • Every year, small and marginal farmers with less than five acres (two hectares) of land receive three Rs2,000 instalments.
  • The government has been attempting to improve farmer income ahead of the critical state assembly elections, with the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approving an increase in the minimum support prices (MSPs) for Kharif crops for the marketing season 2021-22 to ensure remunerative prices to farmers.

QUESTIONS

  • Do you think this is a good political strategy of the government or is this a sign of them surrendering?
  • Do you think it was right to enact the farm laws in the first place?
  • Do you think this has some connection to the upcoming elections?

Let us know your views on the issue in the comments section below!

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