The central government has no intention of bringing back the contentious farm laws that were repealed last month, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar clarified on Sunday.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi had decided to withdraw the agricultural reform laws to keep the honour of the farmers,” Tomar said, reacting to statements by the opposition Congress party that protests might be renewed if such a step was being considered. “The Congress is spreading rumours to cover up its own failures. The farmers should be beware of this.”
The three laws, approved in September 2020, sparked widespread protests by farmers. The government repealed them in the recently concluded winter session of Parliament after a statement to that effect by Modi.
Speaking at an event in Nagpur on Friday, Tomar had remarked: “We took a step back and we will move forward again because farmers are India’s backbone. And if the backbone is strengthened the country will get stronger.”
His comments drew sharp criticism. “The agriculture minister has insulted Modi’s apology — it is highly condemnable,” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had tweeted on Saturday. “If the anti-agro-farming steps are taken again, then there will be annadata satyagraha again.”
The government had earlier tried to explain the benefits of the three laws – the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020 – to protesting farmers, but failed to convince them.
On November 19, the Prime Minister announced that his government will withdraw the three laws. On November 29, Parliament repealed the laws.