India will scrap three controversial farm laws, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says
A farmer cuts paddy crop in the Medak district, near Hyderabad, India on November 11, 2021.
Noah Seelam | AFP | Getty Images
India will scrap three laws that farmers have protested against since last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Friday.
“Today, I am here to tell you, and the whole country, that we have decided to take back, to repeal, the three agriculture laws,” Modi said, according to a CNBC translation of his remarks in Hindi.
He added that the government will begin the constitutional process in parliament later this month to repeal the laws.
The Indian parliament passed those laws in September 2020. The reforms would have chipped away at some of the rules that have protected India’s farmers for decades and would subject them to unfettered free-market mechanisms where competition would be high.
Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for about half of India’s 1.3 billion population but accounts for only around 15% of GDP.
The government has met farmer representatives several times since last year but the negotiations have not led to any breakthroughs.
Thousands of farmers have protested the measures, arguing that the new laws would lower crop prices and hurt their earnings. In January, protesters clashed with police in New Delhi which resulted in the death of at least one demonstrator, Reuters reported.
India’s supreme court stayed the implementation of the farm laws this year.
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