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On Cancelling Farm Laws, Centre Says Preps Done, Evasive On Key Demand

Farmers Bills: Farmers said the new laws would expose them to unfair competition (File)

Highlights

  • A bill to withdraw the 3 farm laws was cleared by the Union Cabinet today
  • Union Minister Anurag Thakur said the “formalities have been completed”
  • Mr Thakur sidestepped a question on the legal guarantee for MSP

New Delhi:

A bill to withdraw the three controversial farm laws was cleared by the Union Cabinet today. “It will be our priority to take back these three laws in the upcoming session of parliament,” Union Minister Anurag Thakur said at a cabinet briefing, adding that the “formalities have been completed”.

Mr Thakur also sidestepped a question on the farmers’ demand for a legal guarantee for Minimum Support Price (MSP) on their produce. 

Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a stunning U-turn, announced the cancellation of the three agricultural laws and urged the protesting farmers to return to their homes.

“In the Parliament session starting the end of this month, we will complete the process of repealing the three laws,” PM Modi had said in an address to the nation.

Before the big climbdown, the Prime Minister defended the laws saying they were meant as reforms, mainly for small and marginal farmers in the country.

“Whatever I did was for farmers. What I am doing is for the country.”

The farmers have been protesting at the Delhi borders for almost a year. Rakesh Tikait, a top farmer leader, said the protesters would wait till the laws were formally repealed in the winter session of parliament starting on November 29.

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Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said people who have “suffered false rhetoric” in the past are not ready to believe the words of the Prime Minister on repealing the farm laws.

The farmer protests did not stop through several rounds of talks between the government and farmers, disruptions in parliament and Supreme Court hearings on petitions challenging the laws.

The opposition and farmers accuse the government of pushing through the three laws through parliament without much discussion. The government said the laws would remove middlemen and improve farmers’ earnings by allowing them to sell anywhere in the country. Farmers argued that the laws would expose them to unfair competition, leave them at the mercy of corporates and deprive them of the guaranteed price for their produce.

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