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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday addressed the nation at 9 am. In a stunning U-turn, the prime minister has decided to repeal all three agricultural reform laws that have sparked almost a year of massive protests by farmers. He said his cabinet will take the decision next month.

"We have decided to repeal all three farm laws. We will start the constitutional process to repeal all the three laws in the parliament session that starts at the end of this month," Modi said in an address to the nation.

The announcement came on the Gurupurab/Prakash Utsav festival, when Sikhism founder Guru Nanak's birthday is celebrated in the country.  "Guru Nanak ji had said 'Vich Duniya Sev Kamaiye, Taan Dargah Baisan Paiyeea'. It means that only by taking the path of service to the nation can life turn out well. Our government has been working with this sense of service, to make the lives of people easy," PM Modi said.

Last year, in September, President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent for the three bills passed by the Parliament. The three bills were: Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020.

These bills were passed by Parliament during the monsoon session last year. Farmers have continued to express apprehension that the Centre's farm reforms would pave a way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the "mercy" of big companies.

PM Modi's addresses the nation: Key highlights

  • “We have decided to repeal all three farm laws, will begin the procedure at the Parliament session that begins this month. I urge farmers to return home to their families and let's start afresh," PM Modi said.
  • In coming Parliament session, we will take constitutional measures to repeal these farm laws, PM Modi said on Friday.
  • PM Narendra Modi appeals to protesting farmers to call off their agitation and return to their homes.
  • Three laws were in farmers' benefit but we couldn't convince section of farmers despite best efforts: PM Modi
  • PM Modi announces to repeal all three farm laws. “Today I want to tell everyone that we have decided to repeal all three farm laws," PM Modi said during address to the nation.
  • To ensure that farmers get the right amount for their hard work, many steps were taken. We strengthened the rural infrastructure market. We not only increased MSP but also set up record govt procurement centres. Procurement by our govt broke the record of past several decades: PM Modi
  • We worked to providing farmers with seeds at reasonable rates and facilities like micro-irrigation, 22 crore soil health cards. Such factors have contributed to increased agriculture production. We strengthened Fasal Bima Yojana, brought more farmers under it: PM Modi
  • Agriculture budget has risen by 5 times, over 1.25 lakh crore being spent annually: PM Modi
  • We have seen the challenges of farmers very closely in the life of our five decades. When the country gave us the opportunity to serve as Pradhan Sevaks in 2014, we gave top priority to agricultural development, farmer welfare, PM Modi said
  • PM Modi lists out measures taken by the Centre to improve farmers' situation.
  • PM Modi extends greeting on Guru Nanak Jayanti. "I extend my heartiest congratulations to all the people of the world and to all the countrymen. My heartiest congratulations to all the people of the world and to all the countrymen," he said.
  • PM Modi paid tributes to Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev on his birth anniversary, saying his vision of a just, compassionate and inclusive society inspires people.
  • The prime minister also paid tributes to Rani Lakshmibai, the Jhansi queen who had died fighting the British forces, saying she has a special place in the history of India and her bravery will not be forgotten by generations.
  • The prime minister is travelling to Jhansi on Friday to launch development projects and also to hand over indigenous defence equipment to the three military chiefs.
  • PM Modi on paid tributes to former prime minister Indira Gandhi on her birth anniversary.

How do farmers react?

A group of farmers was seen celebrating at the Ghazipur border.

Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait said the farmers will continue the agitation, and added that, "will wait for the day when the farm laws will be scrapped in the Parliament".

In a tweet in Hindi, Tikait wrote, "The agitation will not be taken back. We will wait for the day when the farm laws will be scrapped in the Parliament. Government should talk on other issues of farmers too, besides MSP".

How does the opposition react?

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hailed the Centre's decision but also took a jibe at PM Modi-led union government. Gandhi wrote in Hindi, "With their satyagraha, anndata of the country made the head of arrogance hang low. Congratulations on this victory against injustice...".

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote, "My heartfelt congratulations to every single farmer who fought relentlessly and were not fazed by the cruelty with which @BJP4India treated you. This is YOUR VICTORY! My deepest condolences to everyone who lost their loved ones in this fight".

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal saluted the farmers and wrote, "What great news was received today on the day of Gurupurab. All three agricultural laws were repealed. More than 700 farmers were martyred. Farmers' martyrdom will remain immortal. The coming generations will remember how the farmers of this country put their lives on the line to save agriculture and farmers".

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