India took a step backward with the passing of Farm Laws Repeal Bill 2021. This bill was introduced in parliament in order to repeal the three Farm Laws which was passed by parliament a year back to change the lives of farmers across the nation. This bill was passed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured to take back the laws few days on live television. This bill has been passed to repeal laws including The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance, Farm Services Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. Amid protests and agitation on the borders of the national capital since past one year and the negativity surrounding the same made government aware that they couldn’t convince the farmer’s of the nation. Narendra Modi who is known to stay on his strong decisions took back these laws while addressing the nation that he considered it to be in best interest of the nation to take back the law.
Even after over 70 years of independence, life of farmers is mostly miserable in the country. Situation is so bad that no farmer want his son/daughter to get into farming and rather choose an alternative career. Even worse is the fact that thousands of farmers take their own lives every year because of the low income and huge debt. Issues farmers mostly face is the inability to sell their crop to different markets. Congress in past had promised to abrogate the Mandir system completely in order for farmers to sell it out of Mandi. This could have given them the opportunity to have multiple options for selling their product. Additionally, this step could have avoided the Arhatiyas who act as middleman and take their commissions thereby reducing the profit margin for farmers. Narendra Modi led BJP government while bringing the reforms through law in 2020 didn’t copy the Congress’ poll promise as it is but rather choose a better path. They kept the Mandi system intact while allowing the farmers an option to sell their product anywhere in the country. This was an excellent move as it could allow farmers to choose the best for themselves however the biggest opposition party Congress acted hypocritical. Congress falsely accused BJP of abolishing the Mandi system which they actually intended. Congress ruled Punjab gave full support to agitation which happened on the borders of Delhi. During the agitation, separatist slogans, banned flags and violent slogans were raised on the behest of Congress party. Jio tower were damaged in Punjab to show anger. Matter reached to Supreme Court which after detailed hearing asked government to talk to the agitators. Since the deadlock didn’t end, Supreme Court suspended the laws for 18 Months.
Despite of the laws being suspended for 18 months, agitation didn’t end. In the name of protest, a tractor rally was announced on Republic Day in Delhi. After Supreme Court allowed the Tractor Rally, it not only changed it’s path but became violent. Public and private properties were damaged and the most unfortunate event happened when an alien flag was hosted at the Red Fort where only national flag is hosted. Later, leaders of agitation started going to different poll-bound states in order to seek vote against the BJP. News of the gangrape of a women protestor from Bengal shocked the nation. A Dalit Sikh was found dead in mutilated condition on the protest site in a separate occasion. Another person was murdered on the site. These incidents have become a big challenge for the security agencies who are trying their best to protect India from enemy neighbour. Recently, Congress government of Punjab promised to give compensation of Rs 2 lakh to everyone responsible for Republic Day riots in order to gain few votes.
It was heart-breaking to see PM Modi led NDA government take back a reform which could have transformed the destiny of farmers in the nation. It was disheartening to see those reforms being taken back which had the capacity equal to that of White Revolution and Economic Reforms happened in past. It was shocking to see the grand old party Congress which was once lead by leaders like Netaji, Gandhi, Tilak to take a complete U turn on their own poll-promise merely to survive. Itihas of Bharat will never forgive Congress on farmers reforms. Hopefully someday, the nation will have these reforms back and condition of farmers get better.
Author: Adv. Shashank Shekhar Jha
Legal Editor, GoaChronicle.com