Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Friday that the government will repeal the three farm laws introduced last year that led to a massive protest of farmers, especially in Punjab and Haryana.
In his address to the nation on November 19, Modi also appealed to the protesting farmers to return to their homes. He said the government will set up a committee to address all issues impacting farmers. Scientists, farmer groups, state and central officials will be a part of this new panel.
The goal of bringing the three farm laws was to empower farmers, especially small farmers. The three laws were in farmers' benefit and many farmers across the country welcomed it, said Modi. However, there was a section of farmers that protested against it.
"We couldn't convince that section of farmers despite best efforts. We have decided to repeal those three farm laws," the PM said. He added the government will complete the process in the winter session of Parliament.
In September 2020, Parliament passed three bills the government said were aimed at freeing up pricing, production and trade in agriculture through ways such as contract farming, allowing farmers to sell their produce wherever they wanted instead of restricting them to local government-controlled mandis.
Experts said these reforms will enable farmers to escape from the clutches of middlemen and trader cartels, open new channels and foster competition in the supply chain, and provide some stability to an occupation beset with volatility.
However, farmers, especially from Punjab and Haryana, rose in protest demanding the repeal of the laws and replacing them with another set of laws enacted after taking all stakeholders into confidence.
Farmers were especially concerned about one of the laws which broke the monopoly of agriculture produce marketing committees (APMC) - they feared that it will lead to corporatisation of agriculture and signal the end of the minimum support price (MSP) system.
Among other things, they also demanded a guarantee on continued MSP procurement.(This is a developing story. Please check back for updates)