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NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced repealing of the three contentious farm laws, brought into effect last year, aimed at opening up the agriculture sector for greater private sector participation. The government will repeal the laws in the upcoming winter session of the Parliament, PM Modi said in his address to the nation on Friday.

The announcement comes months ahead of assembly polls in agrarian states such as Uttar Pradesh and Punjab amid farmers’ protests against the farm laws.

The three laws prohibited stock limits on farm produce except in times such as war or famine, allowed trading of farm produce outside wholesale markets without state levies and brought in a legislative framework for contract farming.

Speaking on the occasion of Parkash Purab of Guru Nanak Dev, PM Modi said that his government has decided to take back the farm laws and the constitutional process to repeal the three farm laws will be completed in the winter session of the Parliament. The session is schedule to commence at the end of this month.

PM Modi said the three farm laws were effected to improve farmers' conditions. The aim was to empower the farmers, especially the small farmers, so that they get the right price for their produce and more options to sell their produce.

In a bid to win back the support of disgruntled farmers ahead of last general election, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in its earlier budget announced an income support scheme for small farmers. Small and marginal farmers who own less than five acres (two hectares) of land receive three installments of Rs2,000 every year.

The Parliament last year passed three farm bills - one that gives freedom to trade in farm produce anywhere in the country, another creating a framework for contract farming and the third that removed controls on the holding and supply of key farm produce like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes.

The government had, however, faced opposition on the Bills from political parties, farmer bodies and within the National Democratic Alliance coalition. Senior leader of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Harsimrat Kaur Badal, had resigned from the union cabinet in protest against the Bills.

Ahead of the crucial state assembly elections, the government has been trying to improve farmer income with the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approving increase in the minimum support prices (MSPs) for Kharif crops for marketing season 2021-22 to ensure remunerative prices to farmers.

The decision to form a committee to address issues related to agriculture sector would go a long way in identifying the actual pain points of farmers and help the government make adequate policies to boost their incomes, particularly those of marginal farmers who comprise 80% of the farmer population and hold less than 2 hectare of land, said Pradeep Multani, president, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in a statement.

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