On the 19th of November, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi addressed the nation at 9 AM. Addressing the nation, PM Modi thanked the millions of farmers who appreciated the farm laws, which were introduced after due deliberation and with honest intentions. PM Modi made a startling announcement saying that the government had decided to, however, repeal the 3 farm laws that were passed for the benefit of the farmers.
PM Modi, addressing the nation said that by the end of this month, the Modi government would complete the process of repealing the three farm laws. He then appealed to the protesting farmers and middlemen to return to their homes on this Gurupurab and stop their protest. He further said that the government will form a committee to formulate laws for the benefit of the farmers.
He further said that the government had introduced the laws after due deliberation but perhaps it was the shortcoming of the government that they could not convince all farmers that the laws were indeed in their benefit. Further, he said that the past governments had deliberated on these laws as well but it was the Modi government that had implemented them.
He said that all his decisions were in the interest of the nation and he will continue to work for the benefit of the nation.
The full speech by PM Modi can be viewed here:
PM Modi repeals farm laws: What were they
One of the biggest factors plaguing the growth of the agriculture sector in the country is the inability of the farmer to find a market and to get a fair price for his produce. To address the issue, the erstwhile governments of different states enacted the Agricultural Produce Market Regulation Acts (APMC Acts), which authorised them to set up and regulate marketing practices in wholesale markets.
The objective of these markets was to ensure that farmers get a fair price for their produce. However, with each passing year, the APMCs turned out to be inefficient with increasing cartelisation of middlemen, ban on private players to enter the trade, increasing corruption etc.
The Modi government had introduced three bills to promote much easier trade for the farm produce and to provide a competitive market for the producers outside the existing APMC system. The three laws were:
- The Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020: This law aims at creating additional trading opportunities outside the APMC market yards to help farmers get remunerative prices due to additional competition
- The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020: This law relates a framework for contract farming through an agreement between a farmer and a buyer prior to the production or rearing of any farm produce.
- The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020: This law aims to regulate the supply of certain food items only under extraordinary circumstances.
It is pertinent to mention that the farm laws were set of three laws that allowed farmers to sell their products outside APMC act (most states make it compulsory for the farmers to sell at APMC mandis). It also allowed farmers to directly have a contract with corporate houses.
The farm laws did not do away with APMC, and if someone was not willing to trust markets outside the current system, they were free to stick to the ongoing system. It did not do away with MSPs either.