India’s parliament backed the repeal of three agriculture laws on Monday, completing a government U-turn on the controversial legislation after long-running protests that led to violent clashes between farmers and police.
The three agriculture bills had been passed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in 2020, passing into law via a voice vote, but they were swiftly met with opposition from farmers who feared the legislation would cripple their industry.
Officials claimed that the bill would open markets and de-emulate agriculture, but farmers said it would take away their bargaining power.
Tens of thousands protestors from India have held protests across the country throughout 2021. An area was established in New Delhi where protesters could gather to press for the government’s repeal of the bills.
Modi had promised voters earlier this month that he would repeal the legislation ahead of elections in Uttar Pradesh state, India’s most populous region, next year.
Farmers are hopeful that the government will listen and allow them to demand prices for their produce. As it stands, India’s government purchases rice and wheat at state-set Minimum Support Prices (MSPs), helping 6% of the country’s farm workers.