Some say politics won over policy, others contend that the voice of people was heard
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement on Friday morning on the Centre’s decision to repeal the farm reform laws during the winter session of parliament has evoked a mixed reaction from the agriculture and allied sectors.
“(Agitating) Farmers in Delhi are happy but the rest in the country will face shortage of technology, problems in processing, technical advances. The reforms would have helped the agriculture sector. We are surprised that a strong leader like Modi has opted to withdraw,” Reddy said.
Veteran rice exporter Vijay Kumar Setia said the laws were progressive in nature and needed some amendments to satisfy egos.
Also see: Surrender or tactical retreat?
“Farming communities in Punjab and Haryana will get isolated from the natural agriculture mainstream, others will move on,” he said.
The Agro Chem Federation of India welcomed the government’s move to repeal the laws. The federation Director-General Kalyan Goswami said it would help break the ongoing impasse.
“We also appreciate the Prime Minister for his commitment to provide good quality seeds to farmers, easy claim for damages and offering the right price to the farmers for their produce,” he said.
Ankit Chauhan, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, InfyU LABS, said the laws were progressive and aimed at giving farmers more freedom and fairness in their trade. However, it cannot be denied that implementation of these laws was not up to the mark.
Also see: Farm Bills’ repeal and the way ahead
“Farmers were not ready for the changes that were being imposed by these laws. The infrastructure and awareness required for successful implementation of the policy were not in place before these laws were announced last year. Repealing these laws was the need of the hour. We hope a new improved policy will be rolled out in the near future that will take into consideration all required corrections and solutions,” he said.
DRE Reddy, CEO and Managing Parntner, CRCL LLP, the largest domestically managed contractual food services company, said it was good Modi empathised with the protesting farmers.
“At the same time, the government has to look at drastic reforms in the farm sector through inclusive participation of all stakeholders with the sole objective of ensuring the right kind of gains for the farmers,” he said.
Repeal State amendments
Prakash Kammaradi, the former Chair of Karnataka Agricultural Prices Commission who is now associated with the farmers’ movement, said amendments made to the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act by the State should also be repealed following the Centre’s decision.
The jurisdiction of APMC mandis, which was reduced to their physical boundaries, should now be restored back to their original levels covering the entire talukas, he said.
Kurubur Shantakumar, Convenor of Karnataka Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of farmer organisations in the State, said the Centre should provide compensation to the families of the 670 farmers who died during the farmers’ agitation.
Satya Muley, Advocate, Bombay High Court, said the repeal of the laws show that a democratically-elected Government can be brought to a standstill through protests even on progressive legislations.
“There may have been huge communication failures from both sides. The opposition has done it’s best to exploit the communication gaps,” he added.