In a televised ‘address to the nation’ on Friday morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the three controversial farm laws passed in September 2020 stand repealed by the Union government. Farmers across the country have been protesting against these laws since even before they were passed. They believe that the laws will benefit large corporates and hurt farmers.
Hundreds of farmers have been camping at Delhi borders since November 2020 with the demand that the government repeal 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.
The government held multiple rounds of talks with representatives of the protesting farmers and tried to underline the benefits that they offered to small farmers, but the protesters remained adamant on seeking the repeal of all three laws.
In his address to the nation, PM Modi said it was unfortunate that despite the government’s intentions to strengthen and empower farmers particularly those who have small landholdings, many of them were not convinced about the benefits of the laws, and therefore, the government has decided to set in motion the process of repealing all three laws.
The prime minister said the bills were meant to benefit the farmers, but they couldn’t be convinced “despite our best efforts”.
Modi underlined how his government had prioritised the welfare of farmers and drafted policies and interventions such as introducing soil health cards, crop insurance and credit cards to empower farmers. “The agriculture budget has been increased five times and a ₹1 lakh crore agriculture infrastructure fund has been set up to empower smaller farmers. 10,000 FPOs have been started and ₹7,000 crores spent on it,” he said.
“Though it’s a small section of farmers who are protesting, even then, it is important for us. Agri-experts and scientists and progressive farmers have tried, made efforts to make them understand with an open mind.we tried to keep explaining through various means, personal as well as collective” the PM said.
Modi also said that the government has taken another important decision related to the agriculture sector, which is to promote zero budget farming. He said scientifically changing the crop pattern will be undertaken to keep in mind the requirements of the country.
He also said minimum support price (MSP) will be made more effective and transparent, and a committee will be constituted to take decisions on all matters related to the issue. The committee will have representation from the central government, the state governments, farmers, agricultural scientists and agricultural economists.
So, we can conclude by saying that agriculture plays an important role in the country. The three acts passed by the Parliament of India to strengthen the agrarian sector have faced criticism due to their loopholes. Further, the government should make laws to be accepted by the people as well as the government so that there is no need for protests.
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