Bill to Repeal Controversial Farm Laws Passed in Indian Parliament, Opposition Demands Discussion
11:52 GMT 29.11.2021 (Updated: 20:37 GMT 19.10.2022)
© AP Photo / Altaf QadriIndian farmers participate in a protest while blocking a major highway to mark 100 days of the ongoing farmer protests against new farm laws along the Delhi-Haryana border near New Delhi, India, Saturday, March 6, 2021. Thousands of farmers have hunkered down outside New Delhi’s borders since late November to voice their anger against three laws passed by Parliament last year. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government says the laws are necessary to modernize agriculture but farmers say they will leave them poorer and at the mercy of big corporations.
© AP Photo / Altaf Qadri
Mass protests have been taking place across India since November last year against three controversial farm laws which were passed in September 2020. The farmers wanted these laws repealed as they feared they would herald the end of the minimum support price (MSP) system and leave them at the mercy of big corporations.
Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the three controversial farm laws passed in September 2020 would be revoked, both houses of the Indian Parliament on Monday passed the Farm Laws Repeal Bill without any discussion.
The Bill, introduced by the Federal Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar, was passed without any debate on the first day of the Parliament's Winter Session.
Opposition politicians, including members of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party and the Trinamool Congress (TMC party), lodged a protest against the Bill being nodded through.
Om Birla, speaker of the Indian Parliament's Lok Sabha, or lower house, said that unless the House is in order he will not allow a discussion.
Reacting sharply to how the Bill was passed without discussion, Leader of the Congress Party in Lok Sabha - Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury - said that in the past, six acts have been repealed since 2014 where discussion had been allowed and the same courtesy ought to be extended for these three Bills.
General-secretary of Congress, Randeep Surjewala, took to Twitter to rebuke the government for repealing the farm laws without any discussion.
He said that a debate on the farm laws would have forced the government to explain its motives behind the new laws - whether they were a conspiracy to award cronies with control of the farming sector - as well as holding it to account for the death of 700 farmers and phasing out the MSP (minimum support price).
तीनों कृषि विरोधी काले क़ानूनों को ना पारित करते चर्चा हुई, न ख़त्म करते हुए चर्चा हुई।— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) November 29, 2021
क्योंकि चर्चा होती तो…
हिसाब देना पड़ता, जबाब देना पड़ता…
• खेती को मुट्ठी भर धन्नासेठों की ड्योढ़ी पर बेचने के षड्यंत्र का।
• 700 से अधिक किसानों की शहादत का।
• फसल का MSP न देने का।
Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi leads our protest against the draconian farm laws imposed by the Modi govt, in the presence of Shri @RahulGandhi and other MPs.— Congress (@INCIndia) November 29, 2021
The Congress party will not rest until the interests of our farmers are upheld. pic.twitter.com/RKBNLgFu66
Meanwhile, farmers’ leader and Bharatiya Kisan Union spokesman Rakesh Tikait said that the protest will not be over until the government brings in a law on MSP.
Tikait even warned that if the government doesn’t meet the demands of the farmers, their protests will resume on 26 January 2022.
Thousands of farmers in India have been protesting since November of last year against the farm laws enacted by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led federal government on 17 September 2020.
They feared these laws would end the minimum support price (MSP) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporations.
The three farm laws were known as the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance 2020.
In the past year, 11 rounds of talks have been held between protesting farmers and the government. But none of them reached any decisive result.
Prime Minister Modi announced on 19 November that the three laws would be repealed during the Winter session of the Parliament which started today. He also urged farmers protesting in different parts of the country, to end their demonstrations which have lasted nearly a year.
The announcement came just days ahead of the first anniversary of the farmers’ protest which has been taking place at Delhi's three border points -- Tikri, Singhu, and Ghazipur - since 26 November 2020.
India is set to witness state legislative polls in five states in a few months.