Prime Minister NarendraModi announced that the controversial laws governing agriculture in India which led to farmers protesting for almost a full year have been repealed.
“I want to tell the country that we have decided to repeal the three farm laws,”Modi made the remarks in a television address that was broadcast on Friday. Local media called it “Modi’s Address”. “stunning.”
He added that in late November the Indian Parliament will have completed the process of repealing agricultural legislation.
However, the PM again defended the divisive legislation, saying that the reform of the sector, which accounts for some 15% of India’s $2.7 trillion economy, was actually aimed at supporting the country’s small farmers.
Everything I did was to help farmers. The country is what I do.
“Maybe something was lacking in our efforts, which is why we couldn’t convince some farmers about the laws,” Modi acknowledged.
These laws were passed last September and allowed farmers to trade their produce outside the government-regulated wholesale market, where they had been guaranteed minimum prices.
Although the government claimed it would increase their earnings, growers worried that it might cause lower prices and turn them into slaves to large corporations.
Many farmers participated in the demonstrations against what was called “black laws,”Others turned violent, and rallies continued. Many demonstrators still camp along the roads outside New Delhi a year later.
And the farmers aren’t planning on going home just yet, with one of their leaders saying on Twitter: “We will wait for parliament to repeal the laws.”
Modi’s concession to the protesters may have been unexpected, but it comes several months ahead of elections in India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, as well as two other northern states with large rural populations.
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