Modi announces decision to repeal three controversial Central farm laws
New Delhi, November 19, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced that the Government had decided to repeal the three controversial Central farm laws against which farmers in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and other States have been protesting for more than a year since they were enacted.
"Today I have come to tell you, the whole country, that we have decided to withdraw all three agricultural laws. In the Parliament session starting later this month, we will complete the Constitutional process to repeal these three agricultural laws," he said in a televised address to the nation on the occasion of Guru Purab, Guru Nanak Jayanti.
Modi said that, in the spirit of the holy Guru Purab, today was not the day for blaming anyone and rededicated himself to working for the welfare of farmers.
In an important initiative, he announced the formation of a committee to promote zero budgeting-based agriculture, to change crop pattern as per the changing needs of the country and to make the minimum support price (MSP) for agricultural produce more effective and transparent.
The committee will have representatives of the Central government, state governments, farmers, agricultural scientists, and agricultural economists.
Modi began by wishing people on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti and also expressed happiness that, after a gap of one and a half years, the Kartarpur Sabih Corridor had now reopened.
He said he had seen the challenges faced by farmers very closely in his five decades of public life and that is why, when he became Prime Minister in 2014, his government gave the highest priority to agriculture development and farmers' welfare.
He said the four-pronged measures of seeds, insurance, market and savings were taken to ameliorate the conditions of farmers. Along with good quality seeds, the government also connected the farmers with facilities like neem coated urea, soil health card and micro irrigation, he said.
The Prime Minister pointed out that many initiatives have been taken for the farmers to get the right price for their produce in return for their hard work. The country has strengthened its rural market infrastructure.
“We not only increased the MSP, but also created a record number of government procurement centres. The procurement of the produce made by our government has broken the records of the last several decades,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that as part of the campaign to improve the condition of the farmers, the three agricultural laws were brought in the country.
"The objective was that the farmers of the country, especially small farmers should be strengthened, they should get the right price for their produce and maximum options to sell the produce," he said.
Modi said that, for years, farmers of the country, agricultural experts of the country and farmers' organizations of the country were continuously making this demand.
"Earlier also many governments had brainstormed on this. This time also there was discussion in Parliament, brainstorming took place and these laws were brought up. In every nook and corner of the country, many farmers' organizations welcomed and supported it," he said.
He expressed his gratitude to the organizations, farmers and individuals who supported the move.
Modi said the Government brought these laws for the welfare of farmers, specially small farmers, in the interest of the agriculture sector, for a bright future of "gaanv-gareeb" (the rural poor), with full integrity, clear conscience and dedication towards farmers.
"Such a sacred thing, absolutely pure, a matter of farmers' interest, we could not explain to some farmers despite our efforts. Agricultural economists, scientists, progressive farmers also tried their best to make them understand the importance of agricultural laws," he said.
Announcing the decision to the repeal the laws, the Prime Minister appealed to the protesting farmers to withdraw their agitation and go back to their homes.
After they were passed in the monsoon session of Parliament, the President had given his assent to the three Farm Bills on September 27, 2020. The three Bills are Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020.
Ahead of these becoming laws and soon after that, farmers across the platforms had embarked on agitations, some of them peaceful, some resulting in damage to the government property, including the riotous agitation at the Red Fort on January 26 earlier this year, and also including the loss of lives of more than 600 farmers at various places during the agitation.
Hundreds of these farmers -- most of them from western Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Haryana under the banner of Samyukt Kisan Morcha -- have been camping at various entry points to Delhi. They were not buying the Centre's argument that the three farm laws would bring in reforms in the agriculture sector and basically remove the intermediaries, because of which the small farmers will benefit.
After the farmers' agitation erupted, the Supreme Court had in January 2021 stayed the three laws and appointed a committee, which had submitted its report, which has not yet been made public.
Rakesh Tikait of the Bharat Kisan Union (BKU), a prominent leader of the farmers' agitation, said, "Our agitation will not end soon. We will wait till the laws are repealed in the Parliament. We demand that the government discuss MSP and other issues with the farmers."
In a tweet, Rahul Gandhi said: "Congratulations, it's a win against the injustice, the farmers of the nation have compelled the arrogant govt to bend down through satyagraha."
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh took to Twitter to express solidarity with the farmers. "First, bulldoze laws in Parliament. Then face unprecedented protests. Thereafter, confront election realities in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, particularly. Finally, after much appeal, repeal. Kisan-ity prevails at last! I salute the tenacity of our kisans who did not give up," he said.
Former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh too lauded the step and tweeted: "Great news! Thankful to PM Narendra Modi ji for acceding to the demands of every Punjabi & repealing the 3 black laws on the pious occasion of #GuruNanakJayanti. I am sure the central government will continue to work in tandem for the development of Kisan!"