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PM Modi Announces Repeal of Farm Laws: Timeline and Analysis

November 18, 2021

By Nihit Nagpal and Manmeet Singh Marwah

Introduction

The Hon’ble Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti announced the decision of the Central Government to repeal the three controversial farm laws, in the upcoming parliamentary session.

While addressing the nation on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti on November 19, 2021, Sri Narendra Modi announced:

“Today I have come to tell you, the whole country, that we have decided to withdraw all three agricultural laws. In the Parliament session starting later this month, we will complete the constitutional process to repeal these three agricultural laws”

The three farm laws, Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020;  Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020; and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, have been heavily criticised by the farmers leading to a yearlong protest by the farmers.

During the address, the Prime Minister elaborated upon the problems being faced by farmers and the steps taken over the recent years by the Central Government to assist the small farmers, and stated that the three farm laws had been introduced with a fair intention. Citing the apprehensions of the farmers, the Central Government has decided to take steps towards repealing the legislations which had been notified in the Gazette of India on September 27, 2020.

The Hon’ble Prime Minister also stated that the Central Government has decided to take further steps towards the introduction of zero budget farming, scientific development in crop pattern recognition and ensuring transparency in MSP through future reforms, particularly stating that a Committee shall be constituted for the said purposes, consisting of Central Government and State Government representatives, farmers, agriculture scientists and analysts.

Herein we demonstrate the timeline of events that led to =the repeal of the impugned Farm laws:

Timeline of Events

Date Events
June 5, 2020 The Three Farm Ordinances were promulgated by the Central Government.
September 14, 2020. Ordinances introduced in the parliament.
September 17, 2020 Farm Bills passed in Lok Sabha
September 20, 2020 Farm Bills in Rajya Sabha
September 24, 2020 3 days protest initiated by farmers by stopping railways.
September 27, 2020 Farm Bills receive presidential assent, notified in the Gazette of India.
November 25, 2020 Commencement of Protests through the Dilli Chalo Campaign.
November 28, 2020 Home Minister offers to hold talks with the farmers, if they move to designated protest site and vacate Delhi borders.
December 3, 2020 1st Round of talks between the government and the farmers, inconclusive.
December 5, 2020 2nd Round of talks also inconclusive.
December 8, 2020 Farmers call for Bharat Bandh.
December 9, 2020 Leaders on behalf of the farmers reject suggestions for amendment in the three laws.
December 11, 2020 Bharatiya Kisan Union files a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the three farm laws.
December 16, 2020 Supreme Court considers forming a panel with representatives of farm unions and central government.
December 21, 2020 Farmers conduct a hunger strike.
December 30, 2020 6th Round of talks, Centre agrees to exempt farmers from stubble burning penalty and make changes in Electricity Amendment Bill, 2020.
January 4, 2021 7th Round of talks, inconclusive.
January 7, 2021 The Supreme Court to hear petitions challenging the farm laws and those against the protests on January 11, 2021.
January 12, 2021 The Supreme Court stays the implementation of the three contentious farm laws and sets up a four member committee to study the legislations and make recommendations after taking feedback from all the stakeholders.
January 26, 2021 On Republic Day, thousands of protestors join for the tractor parade called by farmer unions for the repeal of the farmer laws, the said parade changes its route midway resulting in clashes between the protestors and the police and vandalising of public property by certain groups of protestors.
January 28, 2021 UP’s Ghaziabad district issues orders for protesting farmers to vacate the site by night.
February 4, 2021 Tweets from Rihanna, Greta Thunberg and Meena Harris supporting the farmers’ protest receive backlash from the central government calling these tweets neither accurate nor responsible.
February 5, 2021 The cyber-crime cell of Delhi Police registers an FIR on charges of sedition, criminal conspiracy and promoting hatred against the creators of a “toolkit” on farmer protests, shared by Greta Thunberg.
February 14, 2021 The Delhi Police arrests climate activist Disha Ravi for editing the toolkit shared by Thunberg.
February 18, 2021 Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) calls for a nationwide railway protest, wherein trains were stopped, cancelled or rerouted.
March 05, 2021 The Punjab Vidhan Sabha passes a resolution asking for the unconditional withdrawal of the farm laws, in the interest of the farmers in Punjab.
May 27, 2021 Farmers observe “black day” to mark six months of the protests, leaders of the protest state that agitation shall continue till 2024 if their demands are not met.
June 5, 2021 Farmers observe “Sampoorn Krantikari Diwas” (Total Revolution Day) to mark the completion of the first year since the promulgation of the Farm Laws.
June 26, 2021 Farmers march to Delhi to mark seven months of protest against the farm laws.
July 19, 2021 200 protesting farmers start a “Monsoon Session”, near the Parliament House, condemning the farm laws, Members of Opposition Parties also stage protests in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue inside the House Complex.
August 7, 2021 Leaders of 14 opposition parties decide to visit Jantar Mantar to support the protesting farmers holding a “Kisan Sansad” (a farmers’ parliament) to mark seven months of protest against the laws.
September 1, 2021 Anil J Ghanwat, writes a letter to the CJI pleading the Supreme Court to release the report prepared by the three member committee appointed by the Supreme Court, for implementation of the recommendations for a peaceful resolution.

Objective of the Farm laws

The objective of the ordinances was to create an ecosystem for the farmers, to increase their options to sell their produce outside the APMC[2] Mandis, primarily to corporate entities, thereby lessening the number of intermediaries involved in the process and improving farmers’ income. The intention of the ordinances might have been to improve the conditions for the farmers but the steadfast manner of implementation, without taking into consideration the feedback and views of all the stakeholders involved, had caused certain apprehensions.

Supreme Court’s observations

On December 16 and 17, 2020, a Bench led by the Chief Justice of India, heard the petitions pertaining to the removal of the protesting farmers from the Delhi Borders, and in the order[1] held that “the right to protest is part of a fundamental right and can as a matter of fact, be exercised subject to public order. There can certainly be no impediment in the exercise of such rights as long as it is non-violent and does not result in damage to the life and properties of other citizens and is in accordance with law.”

On January 12, 2021, The Supreme Court took note of the fact that the Central Government had made the laws without enough consultations and disapproved of the way that the Central Government had handled the farmers’ protest. The Supreme Court then passed an order[2] to stay the implementation of the three farm laws and constituted a committee to make recommendations about the laws.

On October 21, 2021, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul in an order[3] noted that the farmers have the right to protest but that they could not keep the roads blocked indefinitely for the purpose of the same.[4]

Conclusion

In view of the fact that agriculture plays a prominent role when it comes to the Indian economy, the repeal of the farm laws have created quite a stir.

[1] https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1773138

[2] Agricultural Produce Market Committee

Shivam Issar, Intern at S.S. Rana & Co. assisted in the research of this article.

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