REPEAL OF FARM BILLS

[GS PAPER II]

CONTEXT: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the repealing of the three farm laws that are at the centre of a long confrontation between his government and a section of farmers for a year.

 According to the Government

  • The laws, which are repealed, were targeted to restructure India’s agriculture sector as per the principles of market economy.

  •  The repealed Acts could have reshaped the food procurement of India and the mechanisms of distribution, this feared the producers and would have adversely affected the consumers

As these laws were brought about through ordinances and without deliberations, or consultations with the States. They again became doubtful in the eyes of the peasants and general Public. 

Reasons for repeal : 

The decision to repeal them is a triumph of democracy. 

  1. Tenacity of the agitating farmers could not be broken by the BJP and state agencies 

  2. The approaching Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, forced the ruling party’s hand. 

In bowing to public demand, Mr. Modi has shown flexibility and pragmatism. 

Responsibility of the Farmers : Farmers should withdraw the protest now and show a flexible approach towards reforming the sector.

 In a democracy, Flexibility (constant negotiations) should not be for political convenience only.

In the agitation against farm Bills, composition of the agitators:

  • Socially Dominant

  • Economically and politically powerful groups 

WHAT SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT DO ?

  • The ruling BJP Party found it difficult to handle the hostility of such dominant agitators.

  •  The Government should revisit its general attitude towards protest mobilisation.

  • The Government should also take opposition into consideration and accept constructive criticism 

  •  The Government should stay away from branding the agitators as traitors or anti-nationals

  • A consultative decision making would always be more sustainable and easier to enforce. 

The current repeal will have different political dimensions in the coming times of elections.

  • The Congress has been supporting the protesting farmers, and can claim victory. 

  • By repealing the laws the BJP has increased its political space in both States, more so in Punjab where the Congress is in power.

  •  The Akali Dal, and Amarinder Singh, former Congress CM, will also look for new opportunities in the situation.

WAYFORWARD : Farmers should withdraw protest, and push for consultations in efforts to reform the sector. The repeal does not mean that there is no more, the need for reforms in the agriculture sector. The reforms in agriculture are required but the process should include social activists, opinions of farmer groups, agriculture experts, opposition and other such groups. Moreover, this time it should be through proper Parliamentary proceedings via proper discussions. 

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