Two months and 10 rounds of negotiations later, the central government has proposed a suspension of the three farm laws that prompted thousands of farmers to take to the streets.
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, on Jan. 20, had said his government was ready to discuss the laws with the farmers’ unions, and open to postponing their implementation for up to 18 months if needed. The farmers’ unions said they would respond at the next meeting on Jan. 22, but decided to reject the offer within 24 hours.
The farmers say they will settle for nothing less than a repeal of the three laws—Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 and Farm Services and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
These were passed by Parliament on Sept. 20 and received the President’s assent on Sept. 27. According to the gazette notification, the laws are deemed to have come into effect from June 5, 2020. Simply put, they are already operational.
To many, the government’s offer to defer the implementation of the laws, or suspend them, as some headlines put it, will come as serious concession to achieve consensus.
But, how will the government suspend or defer implementation of laws that have already come into effect?