Saturday, 29 January, 2022
E-paper

Indian parliament passes bill to repeal controversial farm laws

NEW DELHI: India's parliament on Monday passed a bill to repeal three laws aiming at deregulating agricultural markets, bowing to pressure from farmers who have protested for over a year to demand that the laws be rolled back, report agencies.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration introduced the farm bills last year through an executive order, traditionally reserved for emergency legislation, triggering India's longest-running farmers' protest. Parliament then passed the legislation via a voice vote, drawing widespread criticism that it had rushed through the laws without proper debate.

In a bid to end the protests ahead of the state assembly election in India's most populous Uttar Pradesh state early next year, Modi said this month his government would repeal the laws in the new session of parliament.

As parliament reconvened for its winter session on Monday, both the lower and upper houses passed the bill to withdraw the laws meant to deregulate and open up agricultural markets to companies. Farmers have said the laws would leave them with scant bargaining power against big private purchasers.

The controversial laws saw tens of thousands of people, including many elderly growers and women farmers, brave extreme weather and a severe second wave of coronavirus infections to camp out on the outskirts of New Delhi over the past year.