BJP Policy Reversal: Cabinet Okays Bill To Repeal Farm Laws

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a bill to repeal the three farm laws, which triggered protests at Delhi borders by thousands of farmers, and will be tabled in Parliament during the upcoming winter session for passage.

On November 19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation had announced the withdrawal of the three farm laws, saying the government could not convince protesting farmers about the benefits of the agriculture sector reforms. He had also urged them to end the protest and return home.

The Cabinet has approved the Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021 to rollback the three laws passed by Parliament in September last year, with an objective to bring reforms in the agriculture sector, especially marketing of farm produce.

The three laws to be repealed are: Farmer's Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm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 Cabinet has completed the formalities to repeal the three farm laws, I&B Minister Anurag Thakur told reporters.

"In the upcoming session of Parliament, it will be our priority to take back these three laws," he said.

The winter session will begin on November 29, and conclude on December 23.

The Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021 has been approved days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement to repeal the three central farm laws. Besides this, Parliament is scheduled to take 25 other bills, including one on crypto currencies.

The repeal of the three farm legislations has been one of the key demands of around 40 farmer unions protesting against these reforms for nearly a year now.

These laws, which are under suspension following a Supreme Court order in January this year, had triggered widespread protests by thousands of farmers mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh at Delhi borders.

The protest started at the fag-end of November 2020, and is still continuing.

On November 21, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) -- joint body of farmer unions leading the current protests -- had written to the Prime Minister to immediately resume talks on the farmers' six demands including legal guarantee for the procurement of crops at minimum support price (MSP).

The other demands were sacking and arrest of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, withdrawal of cases against farmers and building of a memorial for those who lost their lives during the agitation.

They also sought removal of penal provisions on farmers in the "Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act 2021" and withdrawal of the draft "Electricity Amendments Bill, 2020/2021" proposed by the government.

SKM had said it would continue their planned protests, including the march to Parliament on November 29, to observe one year of anti-farm law protests.

Protest Won’t End Yet: Tikait

The ongoing anti-farm laws protest will not end yet and its future course of action will be decided on November 27, BKU leader Rakesh Tikait said on Wednesday.

The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) national spokesperson said the protestors would also question the Centre on its claims of doubling farmers' income.

"This protest will not end yet. We have a meeting on November 27 after which we will take further decisions. (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi ji has said farmers' income would be doubled from January 1, so will ask him how it would be done. Farmers' victory will be ensured when they get the right price for their crops," Tikait tweeted in Hindi.

Hundreds of farmers have been encamped at Delhi's borders since November 26, 2020 with a demand that 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 the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 be rolled back and a new law made to guarantee Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops.
PM Modi had last week announced his government's decision to withdraw the contentious laws.

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