REPEAL OF FARM LAWS: MUCH DELAYED BUT WELCOME STEP
Author: Ayushi Kushwaha, IV year of B.A.,LL.B.(Hons.) from NRI Vidyadayini Institute of Science, Management and Technology , Bhopal (M.P)
India is a country where 70% of its population is dependent upon agriculture and farming. Due to the Farm Laws which were introduced in 2020, the Indian agriculture sector, farmers and farm labourers were going through a deep crisis. Because of that, from 29th of November to 23rd of 2021, the winter session of the Parliament will be held, where important bills and amendments will be discussed. Our Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that the three farm laws which were introduced in September 2020, due to which all the agitation and protests of the farmers were going on, will be repealed in the upcoming winter session of the Parliament .
In this, we have to understand the four important things which are as follows
For what objectives, they were introduced?
Reasons for protests and agitation [why farmers were not accepting those bills?]
What will be the procedure for repealing these farm laws?
What was the Government’s response to this? [when Supreme Court of India intervene?]
Three Farm Bills that were passed by the Parliament in 2020
Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce [Promotion and Facilitation] Bill,2020.
Farmers [Empowerment and Protection] Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.
Essential Commodities [Amendment] Bill, 2020.
Reasons and Objectives for introducing the Farm Laws
To abolish the monopoly of the Government Regulated Mandis in the existing system, so that farmers can directly sell their goods to private buyers.
To provide the legal framework to farmers, so that farmers can enter into a contract with the Companies and can work with them.
To remove the Government’s restrictions on food articles and farm produce which were different in different states, so that farmers of an agriculture business can stock the food articles.
Reasons for protests and agitation of the farmers
If the farm laws were introduced for the benefit of the farmers, then what were the reasons behind the non-acceptance of the law by the farmers? So, the reasons are as follows:
1. MANDIS AND SATE FUNDS
Every State has its own APMC Mandi [Agricultural Produce Market Committee ] from which the Government used to get funds, to provide electricity, road making etc. Those 3 farm laws were parallel to the APMC Mandi
What is APMC Mandi?
An Agricultural Produce Market Committee [ APMC ] is a marketing board established by the State Governments in India to ensure farmers are safeguarded from exploitation by large retailers, as well as ensuring the farm to retail price spread does not reach excessively high levels.
Due to which APMC Mandi was suffering, funds that were Government used to get from that was suffering, the State had to suffer from the loss. In APMC Mandi, many people work as middlemen, they would suffer from unemployment.
2. MINIMUM SUPPORT PRICE WILL BE ENDED
Farmer speculated that the 3 farm laws could be beneficial at the beginning of 3 years but after that APMC Mandis could have stopped totally and the support of Minimum Support Price by the Government could be ended because of this, in future Private Mandis could start their arbitrariness. The situation could have worsened.
3. FEAR OF LESS BARGAINING POWER
Farm laws were introduced because farmers can directly sign an agreement with the Companies and private buyers but the farmers were afraid that they did not have the power of bargaining and contract with the Companies. They had the fear of exploitation from the Companies.
4. NO CONSULTATION WITH FARMERS UNION BEFORE INTRODUCING THE LAW
Before introducing the farm laws, no communication or discussion was done with the farmers or their Unions. Farmers were not asked whether they were comfortable with the law or not or if they had any alternative solution, due to which farmers felt ignored.
Government’s response and timeline of farmers protest
On the 5th of June, 2020, three farm bills were introduced.
On the 25th of September, 2020, the farm bills were opposed by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee and announced Bharat Bandh.
On the 21st of September, 2020, President’s Assent was given and became the farm laws.
On the 25th of November, 2020, the farmers of Punjab, Haryana and other states started their “DELHI CHALO” movement to protest. After these protests, 1st round and 2nd round of talks were held between the Government and the Farmers Union, respectively. The Centre Government’s proposal was that they were ready to amend the farm laws, but farmers were protesting that farm law should be repealed.
On the 11th of December, 2020, Bhartiya Kisan Union moved to the Supreme Court and filed a case regarding the validity of 3 farm laws. After this, on the 12th of January, 2021, the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the farm laws and the committee of 4 members was constituted to make recommendations.
On the 26th of January 2021, Tractor Parade was organised by the farmers union to protest.
On the 5th of February 2021, FIR was filed under Sedition and Criminal Conspiracy against the creators of a “toolkit” on farmers’ protests.
In February 2021, Samyukt Kisan Morcha which is the Umbrella body of the farmers union started a nationwide “RAIL ROKO” protest, in which all the trains were stopped.
On the 27th of May 2021, Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait said in the press conference that “PROTESTS WILL END ONLY AFTER REPEAL OF THE FARM LAWS”.
In October 2021, the Supreme Court observed that the public has a “Right to Protest” but they cannot block public roads indefinitely.
Due to the above reasons, our Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Centre will repeal three contentious Farm Laws 2020.
Procedure of repealing the law
Parliament will introduce a new bill which will be named a Farm [ REPEAL] Bill.
Then the same procedure will be applied that is used to introduce any new bill.
Both houses of the Parliament pass the bill, When Presidential Assent will be given then the previous Act will be repealed.
As we can see, Farmer’s unrelenting fight against the “black laws” compelled the Union Government to withdraw the farm laws. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to repeal the three farm laws seems to be right to avoid “unwarranted controversies and conflicts”. It was a victory for the farmers of India.