Union Cabinet clears bill to repeal three farm laws
The Union Cabinet Wednesday cleared The Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021, to fulfill Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement last week. The bill was given the stamp of approval at the Union Cabinet meeting held at the PM's residence in Lok Kalyan Marg, Delhi. The Centre has already listed the bill to repeal three contentious farm laws during Parliament's Winter Session.
Why does it matter?
- The Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021 can now be introduced in Parliament during the Winter Session.
- If passed, it will repeal the three contentious farm laws that sparked protests by farmers over a year ago.
- Last week, PM Modi had announced that the laws will be repealed.
- However, farmers had said the protests will continue until the laws are repealed through parliamentary procedure.
Laws to be withdrawn on priority: Minister
Announcing the Cabinet's decision, Union Minister Anurag Thakur said, "Today, the Union Cabinet led by PM completed formalities to repeal the three Farm Laws." The repeal of the three laws would be the government's "priority" during the upcoming Parliament session, he said.
Agriculture Minister to table bill in Parliament
Earlier, it was reported that the Centre would introduce one "comprehensive" bill to repeal the farm laws. An official brief of The Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021 will reportedly be available later on Wednesday. The Union Agriculture Ministry had finalized the bill after consultations with the PM's office (PMO). Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar will reportedly table the bill in the Lok Sabha.
Which laws are to be repealed?
The Farm Laws Repeal Bill 2021 aims to repeal three farm laws: the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
How can the government withdraw laws?
Laws can be repealed in two ways: through an ordinance or legislation. The government has to move a bill in Parliament to repeal the three contentious farm laws. All three farm laws can be repealed through a single legislation, which has to be passed by both Houses of Parliament before receiving Presidential assent. Usually, bills titled Repealing and Amendment are introduced for this purpose.
Modi announced laws' repeal last week
In a surprising move, PM Modi on Friday announced that the government will withdraw the farm laws. Modi had also personally apologized to the citizens, acknowledging that there was a "deficiency" in their attempts to convince farmers. However, the Opposition alleged that the decision was taken in view of upcoming Assembly elections, particularly in the agricultural states of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
Why farmers are protesting?
Farmers have been protesting against the three laws since before they were even cleared in September 2020. By November 2020, vexed farmers started camping at Delhi's borders, where they remain still. Demanding a complete rollback, the protesters say the laws will take away minimum support prices and corporatize agriculture. The government had since failed to reach a negotiation with farmer leaders.