Farmer bodies welcome scrapping of agri laws, experts concerned

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November 20, 2021 2:15 AM

Raju Shetti, president of Swabimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), said that the Centre backing down in face of collective farmer protests was “a historic occasion,” and said that the Prime Minister’s announcement to repeal the contentious laws would have made a greater impact had it been done on January 26 this year itself.

The All-India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) echoed a similar sentiment and welcomed the decision stated that the farmer body looks forward to the appropriate parliamentary process for the implementation of this declaration.The All-India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) echoed a similar sentiment and welcomed the decision stated that the farmer body looks forward to the appropriate parliamentary process for the implementation of this declaration.

Farmer leaders on Friday welcomed the withdrawal of three contentious farm laws introduced in 2020, but agriculture experts lamented it.

In his address to the nation on Friday morning, the Prime Minister announced that the farm laws would be repealed.

Raju Shetti, president of Swabimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), said that the Centre backing down in face of collective farmer protests was “a historic occasion,” and said that the Prime Minister’s announcement to repeal the contentious laws would have made a greater impact had it been done on January 26 this year itself.

Shetkari Sanghatana president Anil J Ghanwat, member of the Supreme Court-appointed panel on the laws, however, said: “This is a very unfortunate decision (to repeal the farm laws). Farmers were given some freedom, but now they will be exploited as they have been exploited since independence or since British rule.”

Ghanwat said: “Our panel had submitted several corrections and solutions over the three farm laws, but instead of using it to solve the impasse, Modi and BJP chose to backtrack,” he said. The panel would meet in Delhi on Monday to discuss whether to make the report public, he said. “Now that the laws do not exist, the report is not relevant and we can discuss if we can make it public,” he said.

Ashok Gulati, chair professor at ICRIER said the announcement was a “political tactical retreat” looking at Punjab and Uttar Pradesh elections. “Credit should be given in a way indirectly to Amarinder Singh who may join hands with Narendra Modi and try to get back into power with BJP support as deputy chief minister. So that is one gamble that Modi is taking. So whether he supports Amrinder Singh or gets back to Akalis needs to be seen,” he said. With regard to UP elections, this is about how to clip the wings of Rakesh Tikait so he should not create this as an election issue. With regard to the SC-appointed panel on farm laws of which he was also a member, Gulati said that they are professionals and have given the report to the Supreme Court and now the matter is with the court.

Shetti said: “It is now almost a year since farmers from the Punjab, Haryana and other places began their protests in a peaceful manner. Despite attempts by the BJP-ruled Centre to break the protests, the farmers firmly stood their ground and the Centre finally had to roll back these anti- farmer laws,” he said. November 25 will mark the completion of a year of the farmer protests against the farm laws.

The SSS president said the bills were passed in haste to protect the interests of a few entities without considering the views of all stakeholders. By repealing the laws, the government is indirectly admitting that something has been amiss, he said.

Welcoming the announcement, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) said it would wait for the Prime Minister’s announcement to take effect through the due parliamentary procedure. SKM said that the issue regarding Minimum Support Price (MSP) for all agricultural commodities remained to be addressed in addition to the withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill.

The All-India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) echoed a similar sentiment and welcomed the decision stated that the farmer body looks forward to the appropriate parliamentary process for the implementation of this declaration. If the declaration is implemented, it will be a historic victory for the one-year-long farmers’ movement across India, AIKS said.

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said,”Mahavikas Aghadi has repeatedly stated its position against these agricultural laws and has also discussed the adverse effects of these laws in the cabinet and in the legislature. Before any such legislation is enacted by the Center, it should take a decision in the interest of the whole country by taking all the Opposition parties and concerned organizations into confidence.”

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