- BBC News World
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the repeal of three controversial agricultural laws after a year of struggle.
Thousands of farmers have been camping in the vicinity of Delhi since last November and dozens have died of heat, cold and gout.
Farmers claim that the laws allow the entry of private intermediaries and thus affect their income.
This reflects the surprising announcement of Friday A dramatic twistBecause the government has not made any effort to negotiate with the farmers for the last few months.
Moreover, Modi’s ministers were adamant that these laws were good for the farmers and that there was no doubt that they would be repealed.
As explained by the agricultural associations A big hit. But experts point out that the upcoming regional elections in the states of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh – both with large farmers – may have forced the government to make a decision.
The announcement coincided with the birthday of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion – the dominant Sikh community in Punjab.
Speaking on national television, Modi said the agrarian laws were aimed at empowering small farmers.
“But despite various attempts to explain the benefits to farmers, we have failed. On the date of Gurupurab, the government has decided to repeal three agricultural laws,” he added.
What the laws provided?
Overall, Laws have relaxed the rules for the sale, price and storage of agricultural products, Regulations that have protected Indian farmers from the unfettered market for many years.
Farming Companies, Supermarket Chains and Online Stores: One of the biggest changes is allowing farmers to sell their produce directly to private intermediaries at market prices.
Today, most Indian farmers sell their produce at government-controlled wholesale markets or mandals at a guaranteed base price (also known as the minimum support price or MSP).
Laws Allowed private buyers to hoardR. Foods such as rice, wheat and legumes for future sale, Something only agents previously approved by the government can do.
At least on paper, the reforms gave farmers the option of selling out what is known as the “mandi system”.
But protesters said the laws They will weaken them They also allow private speculators to dictate prices and control their rules. They said the MSP was maintaining the functioning of many farmers and without it it would be difficult for them to survive.
They argued that strict Indian laws relating to the sale of agricultural produce and higher subsidies protected farmers from market forces and did not need to be changed.
But the government argued it Time for agriculture to be profitable The new laws are going to achieve that even for the small farmer.
What is the reaction?
Farmers in Punjab and Haryana are celebrating the news by raising the victory flag and offering sweets. However, They say the fight is not over.
“We do not believe in the promise we are making. If we do not see in writing that the laws have actually been repealed, we will be right here,” Raj Singh Chaudhry, a 99-year-old protester, told the BBC.
Chaudhry is one of hundreds of farmers who have been protesting on the Delhi-Ghazipur border for a year.
Rakesh Dekoit, a prominent agrarian leader, echoed his view that the struggle would end only if the laws were repealed during the winter session of parliament.
Another agricultural leader said it was needed Additional promises of government On the guaranteed price for their crops, before ending the struggle.
The announcement came as a shock to political observers, law enforcers and dissidents alike, with many describing it on Twitter as a “huge success” for farmers. A “big setback” from Modi.
But some agricultural leaders and economists have recognized the merits in the laws and are disappointed with the repeal. Anil Kanwad, director of the Farmers’ Association of West India, described it as an “unfortunate decision” taken politically.
Opposition parties Welcomed the decision, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, “This is a victory against injustice.” West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has expressed her appreciation and congratulations to the farmers on social media.
Members of the ruling BJP said the decision to repeal the laws had nothing to do with the upcoming elections and that the decision to end the struggle had been taken. They then did not specify whether there were plans to update the laws in a different format.
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