Why the BJP government won't repeal the new farm laws?
Farmer protesting at Tikri borderTBC

Why the BJP government won't repeal the new farm laws?

India is an agricultural driven economy and passing a bill without taking the farmers into confidence indicates a dearth of leadership ability of the government

The new farm laws passed by the central government are getting controversial with each passing day. Lakhs of farmers from various states have been camping at Delhi’s border for more than two months now. There have been several meetings between the farmers and the government, but none seem to budge from their stand.

India is an agricultural driven economy and passing a bill without taking the farmers into confidence indicates a dearth of leadership ability of the government.

All the meetings held between the farmer leaders and the government have remained inconclusive, leading to a breakdown of the talks. Till date both the parties have met over ten times but failed to come to a common ground. In the last round of talks between the government and the farmers, the government proposed to roll back the contentious farm laws for 18 months. But, the farmer union leaders have rejected the proposal and are adamant about the complete rollback of the laws.

One of the fears for the farmer unions is that the MSP that they get for their farm produce will be abolished. They believe that if they enter into contract farming with big corporates, they will harass them and the farmers will be left with no other choice than to sell their produce at the buyer's price.

The government said that they are ready to give written consent of continuing the current MSP regime and an amendment can be made where the state authorities will be allowed to register traders who are trading outside APMCs.

Opposition parties have slammed the government for their stand against farmers and will be raising this issue forcefully in the upcoming budget session of the Parliament. The new farm laws, which are of great concern to the farmers, have now become a bigger political issue. At the beginning of the protest, the government tried to demean the farmers by labelling them as Khalistanis, tried their best to stop them to come to Delhi by putting barricades at various points, and blamed them for creating unrest in the country. But overcoming all the difficulties, it has been over a month now since the farmers started protesting and they still stand firm on their demand for repealing the new laws.

Firstly, the new farm bills were enacted without the consent of the farmers, now the panellists chosen by the Supreme Court of India are also without the assent of farmers. Reports say that all the panellists, namely, Bhupinder Singh Mann, Dr Parmod Kumar Joshi, Ashok Gulati, and Anil Ghanwat are people who are already in support of the new farm laws. However, Bhupinder Singh Mann, withdrew his name two days after he was appointed as a member of the committee.

Probable reasons why the government won't repeal the new farm laws -

  1. As all the opposition parties are against the new farm laws, the scrapping of laws will prove to be a victory for the opposition. For BJP the protest has become way more than just a farmers' protest. Repealing the farm laws at this level will be a moral defeat for BJP;

  2. Repealing the laws will set a bad precedent. It takes several years to pass a law in the parliament. Laws are not made overnight and hence repealing a law by coming under pressure will not set a good example;

  3. It will have a negative impact because the citizens will think that this law was a horrendous mistake by the government and that's why they had to repeal it;

  4. Agitations in the future will intensify as people will set this incident as a benchmark, hence leading to more severe and long-lasting protests.

Supreme Court, while forming a special panel that would listen to farmers' grievances, said that farmers have the right to protest and they can continue to protest if they think the new farm laws are not in their interest.

Farmers have taken an absolute position and are not ready to settle for anything less than revoking the three laws. On the other hand, the government has clearly said that it won't repeal the new farm laws in any situation, but they are ready to make amendments to the law.

Now the question arises that if the government is ready to make amendments to the law, then why are farmers so adamant about repealing the new laws? Why can't they get their requests added as an amendment?

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