Bill to Repeal Farm Laws Listed for Day 1 of Parliament Winter Session; Unions Meet to Decide Future Course

The Centre is set to table a bill to repeal the three farm laws on Monday, with it listed on the agenda for the first day of the winter Parliament session, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar announced on Saturday.

The bill will be tabled by Tomar, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress have issued whips to their MPs to be present on the day.

“Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar will move for leave to introduce a Bill to repeal the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation Act) Act, 2020, the Essential Commodites (Amendment) Act, 2020 and to amend the Essential Commodities Act, 1955. Also to introduce the bill,” the agenda listed for the day says.

The Union Cabinet has already approved a bill to repeal the three farm laws following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement on November 19 to repeal the three farms laws. However, despite the prime minister’s surprise announcement, farmer leaders have maintained they won’t budge until the laws are formally repealed in Parliament. They have also indicated the stir for a statutory guarantee of MSP and withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill will continue.

Meanwhile, a nine-member coordination committee meeting of Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of various farm unions spearheading the ongoing stir, began at the Singhu border on Saturday, after which a meeting of farm unions will be held at 12 pm.

According to sources, majority of farm union are of the opinion that they should not bog down and continue to increase pressure on the government. However, ten leaders want that as a ‘reciprocal gesture of peace’ they should reduce the intensity of protest by picking up a later date for the march to the Parliament, the sources added.

Meanwhile, Tomar also announced that PM Modi had announced to constitute a committee to deliberate on the issues of crop diversification, zero-budget farming, and making MSP system more transparent and effective. “This committee will have representatives from farmers’ organizations,” he said.

One Year of Protest, March to Parliament

Farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh on Friday had gathered in large numbers at the three Delhi border points of Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri, with protesting unions saying that the day, which marks one year of their agitation against the three farm laws, will be remembered forever in history as one of the greatest moments of people’s struggle. Thousands of farmers in tractors had arrived at the three protest sites on Friday and many of them flaunting colourful turbans, sunshades, long beards and twirling moustaches danced on the roofs of tractors, distributed sweets and hugged each other to mark the occasion that seemed like a festival.

Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait has said that farmers march to the Parliament on Monday, with 60 tractors and over 1,000 people, to underline their resolve in the matter.

Poll Pulse

The decision to repeal the laws comes just months before Assembly elections in key northern Indian states like Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, where farmers’ votes are crucial. With the Centre now taking back those laws, an interesting battle seems to be unfolding as political parties begin to claim credit for the decision.

The significant gainer, say some observers, could be former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh who had been trying to pitch a “withdraw farm laws” bid with the PM and home minister Amit Shah. He had announced publicly that he would have a strategic tie-up with the BJP if the laws were withdrawn. He had been insisting that with the three laws in place it would get difficult for the party to campaign, especially in rural areas. Singh had also been concerned about national security, which was being linked to the agitation.

‘Will Never Stop from Doing What’s Good Work’: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while announcing the move on Gurupurab, had requested all farmers to return to their homes and farms. “I shall never stop from doing good work. What I did was for the country, what I will do will be for my country. Trust me, I will work more so that your dreams can come true,” Modi had said.

The Prime Minister had said the struggles of farmers very closely, which is why Krishi Vikas Yojana was given so much importance. “We are doing our best to help and support farmers. The three farm laws were brought in specially to support small farmers. So that they get more options and better price for their produce. Every farmer in the country and kisan organisations welcomed the farm laws. I thank all of them today,” Modi had said, adding that the Centre’s intent was pure but that some farmers could not be convinced.

“We tried our best to explain these laws to the farmers. We spoke, we discussed and we tried to convince them. The government was ready to rework these laws,” the PM had explained.

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