Indian parliament passes bill to repeal controversial farm law

Farmers gather to mark the first anniversary of their rally on the outskirts of Delhi at Pakora Chowk near the Tikri border
FILE PHOTO: Farmers gather to mark the first anniversary of protests on the outskirts of Delhi at Pakora Chowk near the Tikri border, India, November 26, 2021. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis

November 29, 2021

By Nigam Prusty

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s parliament on Monday passed a bill to repeal three laws aimed at deregulation of agricultural markets, under pressure from farmers who have been protesting for more than a year to demand these laws are deferred.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government enacted agricultural bills last year through an executive order, traditionally reserved for emergency legislation, sparking India’s longest-running protests by farmers. Parliament then passed the law through a voice vote, drawing widespread criticism that it hastily passed the law without proper debate.

In an effort to end protests ahead of parliamentary elections in India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh early next year, Modi said this month his government would repeal the laws in the new session. Congressional.

When parliament reconvened for its winter session on Monday, both the lower house and upper house passed a bill that would roll back deregulation laws and open up agricultural markets to companies. Farmers say the law will leave them with little bargaining power over large private buyers.

The controversial laws have seen tens of thousands of people, including many elderly farmers and farm women, brave the inclement weather and a second wave of severe coronavirus infections to camp in the suburbs. New Delhi in the past year.

In addition to their demand for repeal, the protesting farmers are also demanding that Modi’s government introduce legislation to guarantee government prices for products not just rice and wheat.

The government currently buys rice and wheat at a state-set Minimum Support Price (MSP), but the subsidies benefit only about 6% of India’s millions of farmers.

Protesters are demanding MSPs for all crops – a move that has attracted seedling growers across the country and brought protests beyond India’s grain-growing states of Punjab and Haryana. .

The government has yet to comment on the protesters’ demands for the MSP.

Farmers celebrated the development but said the protests would only stop when the government promises to enact legislation on MSPs for all products.

(Written by Mayank Bhardwaj; Edited by Ana Nicolaci da Costa) Indian parliament passes bill to repeal controversial farm law


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