The Indian economy is based on agriculture. The Indian economy mainly thrives on agricultural produce and exports, thus making it a vital field that is required to be sustainable throughout the year. Agriculture alone contributes to 20% of the country’s GDP and acts as a centre of production of raw materials. The welfare of the farmers and their occupation is an important matter of concern as it directly affects the economy of the country.
On November 19, 2021, PM Narendra Modi announced that the 3 farm laws will be repealed. The farm laws had been going through a controversial roller-coaster for the past year. The 3 farm laws are – The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020. Although the present government has been encountering a serious political backlash for passing these laws in Parliament, the laws weren’t framed overnight.
Source – Aljazeera
The 3 farm laws were a result of nearly 25 years of continuous changes and amendments according to the time and needs, starting from the era of privatization(in 1991) to the time when the Swaminathan commission released their report from December 2004 -October 2006, with various governments and parties changing. After a long journey, the farm laws took shape and were passed as a bill in the parliament on September 17, 2020, by the Lok Sabha and on September 20, 2020, by the Rajya Sabha, after which it encountered protests mainly in the parts of Punjab, Haryana, Sikkim and Uttar Pradesh.
The government argued that the laws mainly focussed on giving freedom to farmers by allowing them to sell their crops outside(without the interference of the middle-men), allowing the farmers to make deals with the private companies and using more technologically advanced techniques in their method of farming, while the protestors’ concerns were about Minimum Support Price (MSP) and fear of control by the private players.
Until now, the Farmer’s association and the government had made 11 rounds of talks about the 3 farm laws. Noted economists and reformists, on the other hand, had praised the three Farm laws. “These particular farm laws were in the domain of marketing,” said IMF Chief Gita Gopinath. Farmers’ market will be widened since they will be able to sell to different outlets other than mandis without having to pay tax. This, in our opinion, has the potential to increase farmer earnings.” Economists like Abhijit Banarjee, Swaminathan Aiyar, had gone a step ahead, stating that the farmer’s protest is more politically motivated than it is concerned about the farmers.
Source – dubaiburjkhalifas.com
This is quite evident from the various dramatic and violent acts done by the protestors, like hoisting the Khalistani flags in Red Fort on Republic Day, committing murders and incidents of rape in the protest sites, giving death threats to the Prime Minister, putting forth Khalistani referendum and demanding the annulment of CAA and NRC, which in no way is related to the farm laws. Such unfortunate incidents had crushed the credibility of the larger section of the protesters who had genuine concerns about this. Even after the laws were repealed, the protestors still have not agreed to clear the protest site. The protests created a loss of Rs. 3,700 crores per day, due to blocking of roads, obstructing trade and transportation of goods.
Source – storiyaan.com
The decision of repealing the farm laws by the Prime Minister received a variety of reactions. This raised queries among the citizens about the reason behind repealing the farm laws. The upcoming elections in Punjab, fear of National Security and lack of communication between the government and farmer’s association are the speculations being discussed and analysed by the people. The Prime Minister in his address to the nation on November 19 added, “We are doing our best to help and support farmers.
The three farm laws were brought in specially to support small farmers with better prices for their produce. The farm legislation were welcomed by every farmer in the country, as well as kisan organisations. I thank all of them today.” He further stated that the government could not convince a major section of the farmers and that they are working on changing the crop pattern and reworking these laws.
India, a country with a total population of 138 crores comprises about 90 million of them belonging to the farming community. Over 70 % of rural households still depend on agriculture for their livelihood. According to data supplied by the NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau), the country’s chronically strained farming sector accounts for 7.4% of all suicides. Although the farm laws had few loopholes, there was a solution to fix it through amendments which the protestors failed to understand. The struggle of the farmers will continue unless a revolutionary act is introduced and implemented in the country. India needs to urgently reform the agricultural sector before it is too late.
Written by- Venkatavardhan S
Edited by- Isha Mehrotra