“Today I came to tell you, the whole country, that we have decided to withdraw all three agricultural laws,” Modi said in an address to the nation, adding that the process will be completed in a parliamentary session later this month.
Modi acknowledged the importance of farmers and the challenges they faced. He said it is a priority issue for his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
“In this big campaign to improve the condition of the farmers, three agricultural laws have been brought into the country,” Modi said.
“This law was introduced with good intentions,” he continued, adding that despite its efforts, the government could not “make them (farmers) understand the importance of the agricultural laws.”
For more than a year, Indian farmers have been fighting against the three new laws, which they say leave them open to exploiting large corporations and destroying their livelihoods. The laws that were passed last September relaxed rules on the sale and price of products that have protected farmers from an unregulated free market for decades.
It resulted in some of the largest protests India has ever seen, and posed a rare threat to Modi’s government after he failed to quell the demonstrations.
Farmers are the largest constituency in the country, and the agricultural sector supports about 58% of India’s 1.3 billion citizens.
This is an evolving story, more to come.