Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Friday announced on the occasion of Gurupurab the government's intention to withdraw the three farm laws in the interest of the nation. "I have come to tell you that we have decided to repeal the three farm laws. In the upcoming Parliament session starting at the end of this month, we will complete the constitutional process to repeal the three farm laws," Modi had said on November 19.
But the problems which required the law remain. The FCI is unable to procure all the wheat and rice grown in the north-western states and is running huge deficits, even as inadequate warehouses lead to rotting of the grain and mounting losses for the exchequer. In fact, after smelling victory, farmers, like Oliver Twist, are asking for more.
The farmers now want the government to provide the legal guarantee to Minimum Support Price or MSP for all the 23 crops, scrap the proposed amendments to the Electricity Act of 2003 which require farmers to pay the cost price and claim subsidies from the state government. They also want the fines for stubble burning to be abolished. They have also asked for compensation for the next of kin of 700 farmers who died during the protest and sacking and arrest of the junior home minister Ajay Mishra.
In an interview with CNBC-TV18, Mahendra Dev, vice-chancellor at IGIDR said, "The repeal of the three farm laws is a step in the right direction. However, the farmer's demand of legalising MSP for all crops is not good."
Sudipto Mundle, Member of the 14th Finance Commission said, "Agriculture is a state subject but inter-state trade including agricultural products is not a state subject. When India was a food deficit country, without giving these incentives or assured returns, you could not get the farmers to do what they did in the Green Revolution, especially in the wheat and rice belts. So for the past 50 years, they have been fed on that system and you cannot undo it overnight no matter how irrational those incentives might be today. So one has to calibrate this in a very thought out way and the first step to do is start procuring other crops so that farmers can diversify with similar returns that they get in rice, wheat and sugarcane."
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