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In a major victory for the agitating farmers in India, a bill to cancel the three contentious farm laws was passed in record time in both houses of the parliament. The government plans to get it signed by the President by tonight.

The Farm Laws Repeal bill was passed in Lok Sabha within four minutes – it was tabled at 12:06 pm and passed by 12:10 pm amid opposition demands for a discussion.

In Rajya Sabha, it was passed after a short discussion. Congress’s leader in the house Mallikarjun Kharge said all parties are agreed on the bill and no one is opposed to it.

Opposition leaders in the Lok Sabha objected to the lack of discussion, pointing out that a discussion has taken place on the five or six occasions when a law was scrapped.

The opposition claimed the government evaded a discussion to avoid the issue of minimum support price for farmers’ produce, which has been a key demand during their year-long agitation.

Opposition leaders had expressed apprehensions even before the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meetings of both Houses that the government would want to clear the Bill without any discussion. No consensus on a discussion was arrived at in the BAC meeting. In the Lok Sabha, which was adjourned till 12 noon after it convened due to ongoing protests by the Opposition on farm Bill related issues, the repeal Bill was taken up as soon as the House reconvened.

The Bill was necessitated after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the government’s intention to repeal the three laws in view of ongoing farmers’ protests against these laws on November 19. Two days after the Prime Minister’s announcement, the Union Cabinet cleared the draft of the Bill. Now the Bill has been introduced in Lok Sabha.

The journey of three farm laws began on June 5, 2020 when the President of India promulgated three ordinances­ – Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020; The Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020; and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020. These ordinances were later replaced with proper legislation in September 2020. However, the implementation of three farm laws was stayed by the Supreme Court on January 12, 2021. So, these laws were in effect for only 221 days.


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