Explained: Why are the farm laws being repealed
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Centre will repeal the three contentious farm laws
- The laws will be repealed in the winter session of Parliament, the PM said
- The decision to repeal the loss comes ahead of polls in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Friday that the Centre is going to repeal three contentious farm laws that had found immense opposition from farmers in western India, especially the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The move signaled the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government bowing to farmers’ pressures ahead of assembly elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh next year.
The repeal of the three agriculture laws brings to an end nearly a year of protests which often sparked political maelstroms that had an impact across the nation. On the day the prime minister announced that the government will repeal the farm laws in the next parliamentary session, here’s a look at what the three farm laws were, the demands made by farmers and why the Centre decided to repeal them.
The three farm laws
The three contentious farm laws brought by the Union government include The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and Essential Commodities (Amendment Act) 2020.
The first law, The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, sought to open sale of crops to private players outside the ‘mandi’ process facilitated by the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) among other things.
The second law, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, intended to create a national contract farming framework for farmers to enter into written contracts with companies. One of the most contentious aspects of this law was the act’s dispute settlement mechanism that posed hurdles in farmers approaching the judiciary.
The third law, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020, removed a number of items from the list of essential commodities, such as cereals, pulses, oilseeds and edible oils, thereby removing stockpiling limits on such items.
The new laws found stiff opposition from farmers in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh. Protesting farmers have been camping at the Delhi border since November 26 last year, demanding the repeal of the laws. The farmers also sought a legal assurance on minimum support price.
The Centre gives in
On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation saying that the government could not explain the farm laws to the farmers. The farm laws had come in for greatest criticism from agricultural communities in Punjab, many of whom are Sikhs. The PM made the announcement on Guru Nanak Jayanti, an auspicious day for Sikhs.
Political observers believe that the upcoming elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh and the electoral impact of the farm protests prodded the Centre to finally capitulate to the demands to repeal farm laws.