PM Modi repeals his three farm laws

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By Philip Mudartha
Bellevision Media Network

21 Nov 2021: Unpredictable that he is, Prime Minister Modi surprised the nation when he announced hat his government will repeal the farm laws in the Winter Session of Parliament.



What were the farm laws that have been repealed?


They are:

The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 which is aimed at allowing trade in agricultural produce outside the existing APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) mandis.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 which seeks to provide a framework for contract farming.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 which is aimed at removing commodities such as cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potato from the list of essential commodities.


Why did he say the laws will be repealed? 

1. These laws were passed with the best intentions for the betterment of farmers. But his government could not convince the agitating farmers about their positive potential. 

2. The government will constitute a committee comprising representatives of the Union and State governments, Agri-experts and Scientists. Its task will be to suggest a new package for farmers. 

3. He made the announcement on Guru Nanak Jayanti, a day the Sikhs mark with piety. Thus, he extended an is an olive branch to the Sikhs, who form the majority among the agitating farmers. 

4.He didn’t ay so but probably the set-backs in recent by-elections promoted his decision. It is also possible that intelligence agencies warned him of the risk of alienating the tiny minority of Sikhs, with whom the Centre had mended its relations by hard means after the 1984 separatist movement and related tragic events. 


How did the opposition parties react? 


1. The Opposition gave all credit to the protesting farmers for bringing the government with a brute majority to its knees. The year-long standoff had united the opposition to wage a sustained campaign aimed at repeal of the “black” laws. 

2. The state assemblies, where the opposition parties are ruling, passed resolutions seeking withdrawal of these laws.

3. They consistently raised the issue in Parliament. They even boycotted the President’s customary address to the joint sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

4. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi spearheaded his party’s opposition to these laws. “I am very, very proud of what the farmers are doing. I fully support the farmers, and will continue to stand with them. Mark my words, the government will be forced to take these laws back. Mark my words.” That was his tweet on January 14, 2021. Needless to say, this is the second time Rahul can be credited for the course correction by Modi. First was the repeal of land acquisition ordinance after Rahul’s charge that Modi government was “Suit Boot ki Sarkar”. 

5. For the opposition parties in general and civil society in particular, the clear message is that Non-Cooperation or Civil Disobedience which gave us freedom from the British in 1947 is relevant even today. A government with a brute parliamentary majority headed by a Prime Minister who brags of his 56-inch chest and is proud of his “bold leader” image and who is not afraid to take “hard decisions” can be forced to retract through peaceful street protests by civilians. 

6. The farmers’ agitation of 2020-2021 re-establishes the relevance of non-cooperation and civil disobedience in a democratic set-up. Unconstitutional and unjust laws must always be opposed by citizens.


The belligerent government had to eat humble pie:

1. In February 2021, Modi had derided the protesters saying they were working at the behest of “Foreign Destructive Ideology” effectively labelling them as ‘anti-national”.


 2. A vocal section of his party and the ruling establishment saw in the protestors “Khalistanis”.

What his cheerleaders say now?

1. Bad politics has won and good economics has taken a back-seat. 

2. In repealing the laws, Modi has acted like a true statesman.

3. It will be status quo in the farming sector. Cropping patterns will remain skewed in favor of rice and wheat, dependent on rainfall.

4. Food Corporation of India grain silos will continue to bulge with stocks of grain.

5. The food subsidy will keep bloating and there will be large leakages. 

6. The groundwater table in the north-western states will keep receding.

7. Greenhouse gases (GHG) like methane and nitrous oxide will keep polluting the environment.

8. Agri-markets will continue to be rigged and farm reforms will remain elusive for some time to come. No government will dare to try reforms in agriculture sector. 

9. The Agri-GDP growth has been 3.5% per annum in the first seven years of the Modi government, the same as in the first seven years of the UPA government. The future trend will be similar. 

10. The laws will have to brought back after the assembly elections are done and over with.


Final Notes:


1.PM Modi said he has acted with “pure heart” on booth occasions, when the laws were enacted and when they were repealed. 

2. PM Modi apologized to the nation but did not say that the laws were bad. They were good for farmers but repealing them is in the national interest. How, he did not elaborate. 

3. He promised to hold necessary consultation with all stakeholders and experts, which he could have done earlier.

4.There was not a word of sympathy or a moment of silence for the loss of over 700 farmer lives lost during the agitation. The Lakhimpur incident was not even hinted at. His cabinet continues to hold the portfolio.




Comments on this Article
Philip Mudartha, Nerul Mon, November-29-2021, 5:23
Because, agriculture is very diverse and varies from region to region, the constitution made it a state subject. Even within a state, regions have diverse soils, so different farming policies are needed. So, it is best that the central government does not attempt to legislate on farming.
Ronald Sabi, Moodubelle Sat, November-27-2021, 10:44
Very good article and kind of SWOT analysis on Farmers law. If law was good...majority would ve accepted it. He had to repeal it due to outright opposition from majority farmers, shows flaw in the law. People are still waiting to see it scrapped. Big setback to Uncle Sam and followers!
Joe Quadros, Kalyanpur Fri, November-26-2021, 10:59
As usual Philip has written a good article being unbiased. Rahul Gandhi comes up vindicated what with his earlier statement mark my words... PM Modi while initiating the laws said it is with a pure heart for the betterment of farmers and while agreeing to repeal the laws repeated the same words. A farmer leader has asked PM to clarify whether he was wrong the first time or the second.
Joe Quadros, Kalyanpur Fri, November-26-2021, 9:51
As usual Philip has written very good article because he is not biased, covering all angles. Rahul Gandhi comes up vindicated with his earlier tweet mark my words... When Modi initiated the laws he said he is acting with a pure heart for the betterment of the farmers and while announcing the repeal also said the same words. A farmer leader has asked Modi to say whether he lied first time or the second. Are we back to status quo?
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