By Shakir Husain
NEW DELHI, Nov 19 (NNN-Bernama) — The Indian government will repeal three controversial market-oriented agricultural laws that have angered farmers.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday his administration was unable to convince the protesting farm unions about the benefits of the laws passed in September last year.
Thousands of farmers have been camping on the outskirts of Delhi demanding abrogation of the laws they say would harm their incomes.
They had threatened to intensify their protests during the winter session of Parliament starting on November 29.
“We have decided to repeal the three agricultural laws,” Modi said in a national address.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government will complete the constitutional process of withdrawing the laws during the parliament session, he said.
Reacting to the announcement, an alliance of farmer groups described it as “a win” following their year-old campaign.
Modi appealed to farmers to call off their protests.
Rakesh Tikait, a prominent union leader from Uttar Pradesh, said the protests won’t be terminated immediately.
“We’ll wait for the day when parliament repeals the laws,” he said.
The government had earlier argued the laws were necessary for modernising the farm sector and would benefit farmers of whom about 80 per cent were small cultivators with holdings of less than two hectares.
However, farm unions in agriculture-rich states like Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh began a movement last year against the measures they said would take away the state-guaranteed price support for staples such as rice and wheat.
Critics said the laws would make farmers vulnerable to price manipulation by large corporations in an unregulated market.
The continuing protests posed a headache for the BJP in next year’s assembly elections in seven states, including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.