“History has been made today in India, when the anti-farmer central farm laws got repealed. However, the development was marred by the fact that there was no debate allowed on the Bill tabled to repeal the 3 laws,” said farmers umbrella body Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) in reaction to the repeal of the three farm laws on November 29, 2021 during the Parliament’s winter session.
Following through on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s unilateral decision, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar tabled the Farm Laws Repeal Bill on Monday that was passed sans discussions through both houses of Parliament.
Even when these laws were introduced in June 2020 as Ordinances, the central government forcibly passed them without listening to opposing voices. Farmer leaders took note of this repetitive behaviour and further took note of the Statement of Objects and Reasons in the repeal Bill.
“[The Bill] cannot be farther from the truth. In most state APMC Acts, farmers already have the freedom to sell their produce to any buyer at any place of their choice and such a freedom was not given for the first time by the Modi Government as is being claimed,” said the SKM in a joint statement.
Further, it criticised the government for once again failing to acknowledge the unconstitutional manner in which the laws were previously passed. Farmers were not consulted during the formation of these laws, said leaders.
“In a democracy, opportunistic consultations with industry-sponsored farm unions is not the way forward, and there have to be serious deliberative democratic processes adopted. The repeal Bill reflects the egoistic and adamant attitude of the present government, and it is only meant to misguide gullible people,” said the SKM.
Still, not ruminating on the day’s proceeding for long, the SKM reported that as many as 686 farmers have been martyred in the struggle so far. Pointing out that the responsibility of these deaths lies with the central government, farmer leaders said that farmers remain at protest sites to demand assertion of other demands.
Opposition parties continue to support these demands including the legal guarantee to Minimum Support Price (MSP). In the last year, a group of economists also stepped forward to write a letter detailing the many positive outcomes for the overall economy if such a provision is made.
“While some experts are willingly choosing to misinterpret farmers’ demand for MSP and present data of exaggerated public financing burden, the farmers’ movement knows that such misleading data will not stand the test of scrutiny. The investments for an MSP guarantee law are very much within the practical power of the Centre and will come back as revenues as soon as the rural economy receives a boost from such a law,” said the SKM.
Similarly, on the demand of dismissal of all FIRs against protesting farmers, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar indicated that he will do so on the Centre’s instructions. It may be noted that earlier Tomar declined to comment on this issue calling FIRs a “state concern”.
Similarly, while areas like Delhi and Chandigarh wait for the central government’s direct orders, BJP-led state governments of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh etc. also await the central government’s orders.
“Modi Government cannot escape its responsibility with regard to this demand, or all other pending demands including on withdrawal of electricity amendments bill, around compensation to kin of martyrs, a martyr memorial, about arrest and sacking of Ajay Mishra Teni etc.,” said the SKM.
Parliament repeals farm laws sans discussion, but what’s next?
SKM postpones Tractor Rally to Parliament
Farmers’ movement: 12 months and still going strong!
Kranti ka Naqsha: Mapping a year of the Kisan Andolan
Welcome repeal of laws but other demands pending: SKM to PM Modi