SATURDAY 20 NOVEMBER, 2021 epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard VOTE FACTOR DAMAGE CONTROL AHEAD OF POLLS Observers & Opposition say farm law scrapped with eye on Assembly elections A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 7 I hope the PM and the BJP govt will leave their stubbornness and focus on farmer welfare, ensure MSP and evolve a consensus with state govts, farmer organisations and opposition parties before taking any such step in future —Congress president Sonia Gandhi NEW DELHI Ultimately, as UP and Punjab elections came closer and particularly when the BJP saw the reaction of farmers in the villages of Haryana and Punjab and some other states, they decided to withdraw the three farm laws —NCP chief Sharad Pawar J8.00 PAGES 12 My heartfelt congratulations to every single farmer who fought relentlessly and were not fazed by the cruelty with which @BJP4India treated you. My deepest condolences to everyone who lost their loved ones in this fight —West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee Farmers celebrate after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision to repeal the farm laws, at Singhu border in New Delhi on Friday | SHEKHAR YADAV Constitutional process to repeal laws will be completed in the upcoming session of Parliament starting later this month, says Modi; fears of widening Sikh-Hindu divide in Punjab and possible heavy poll reverses in western UP because of agrarian unrest responsible for sharp climb down FARM LAWS WEEDED OUT FOR GOOD M A N I S H A N A N D @ New Delhi PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Friday sprang a surprise by announcing the process to repeal three contentious laws farmers were agitated about, marking a sharp climbdown in the face of electoral challenges in five states, including Uttar Pradesh, early next year. Apologising for “deficiency” in explaining the merits of the laws to “some of the farmers”, Modi sought to take the moral high ground, saying that “whatever I did, I did for the farmers and whatever I am doing, I am doing for the country .” The Prime Minister also announced the constitution of a committee to look into minimum support prices (MSP) mechanism to make it more transparent and effective. “In the upcoming Parliament session starting at the end of this month (November 29), we will complete the constitutional process to repeal the three farm laws,” Modi said. Timing his address to the nation with Guru Purab, birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, Modi urged the agitating farmers to call off their protests and return home. “Let’s make a fresh start. Let’s move with a fresh beginning,” he said. The backdrop to the announcement was set up by former Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh raising security concerns in the state in his meetings with Union home minister Amit Shah after quitting the Congress, besides growing concerns within the BJP of the heavy cost, particularly in UP where about one-fourth , of the Assembly constituencies were seen to be directly affected by the farm protests. The perceived anger of Sikhs in Punjab against BJP and Modi in particular due to the farm laws, apparently precipitated the climb down. The NDA had under similar circumstances let the Land Amendment Ordinances to lapse in 2015. With Home Minister Shah set to take direct charge of the western and Braj parts of UP, which together account for over 130 Assembly constituencies, the repeal could help him rework his maneuvering to win back support of the formidable Jats. Also, for the BJP’s plan to materialise to ride piggyback on Amarinder Singh in Punjab to work on the Jat Sikh and the Hindu vote base, a face saver for him had become mandatory. The prospects of the Aam Admi Party gaining from multi-cornered contests in Punjab had also been worrying the BJP lately . “While apologising to the countrymen, today I want to say sincerely that perhaps there must have been some deficiency in our penance that we couldn’t explain the truth like the light of the lamp to the farmer brothers,” said Modi. He added that the government had brought in the farm laws with good intentions after extensive deliberations with stakeholders. INSIDE Flaws in the laws: Pain points in the three contentious legislations Here is what the controversial agriculture laws stated and the inherent problems in their implementation, as pointed out by the protesting farmers since last year... We brought in the laws for the welfare of farmers... but were not able to explain to some farmers such a sacred thing Prime Minister Narendra Modi Salutes to our farmers and their brave struggle which has led to the repeal of Modi’s three black farm laws. We must not forget the sacrifice of 750 farmers who lost their lives in this struggle CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury The protest won’t be withdrawn immediately. We will wait for the day when the farm laws are repealed in Parliament. Along with Minimum Support Price, the government should talk to farmers on other issues too Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait 1 THE FARMER’S PRODUCE TRADE AND COMMERCE (PROMOTION AND FACILITATION) ACT, 2020 This law allows farmers to trade their produce outside the physical markets notified under various state Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee laws. The farmers feared that the new rules would lead to inadequate demand for their produce in local markets. They also said that transporting the produce outside mandis would not be possible because of lack of resources needed for this 2 FARMERS (EMPOWERMENT AND PROTECTION) AGREEMENT OF PRICE ASSURANCE AND FARM SERVICES ACT, 2020 Will create legal framework for contract farming under which farmers enter into a direct pact with a buyer before sowing season to sell produce at predetermined prices. Farmers worried it would lead to corporatisation of agriculture and end the MSP regime. There were concerns the contract system would make small and marginal farmers vulnerable to exploitation from big companies 3 ESSENTIAL COMMODITIES (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2020 It will take away Centre’s powers to impose stockholding limit on food items, except under extraordinary circumstances. Market forces would determine stock limits on farming produce. No specific opposition to this provision, but it is seen as contrary to the objective of the main law, which is to maintain regular supply of essentials at a fair price for consumers GUARANTEE OF MSP NEXT FOR FARMERS E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi / Chandigarh WHILE all the farmer unions have welcomed the Central sgovernment’s decision to repeal the contentious farm laws, they are not ready to call off their agitation yet. Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), the umbrella organisation of various farm unions, and Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) said they will not stop the protests unless the laws are repealed fully in Parliament. SKM said it has plans for the next three-four months, including visiting poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, keeping an eye on the winter session of Parliament, and organising largescale protests across the country on January 26. It also said that a concrete plan of action will be decided in a meeting of farmer leaders on Saturday SKM leader Darshan Pal . said there are two distinct issues comprising the farm Congratulations & celebrations at Singhu border as farmers rejoice A N K I TA U PA D H YAY @ New Delhi Farmers at Singhu border distribute sweets after PM Narendra Modi announced repealing of the three farm laws | PARVEEN NEGI INTERVIEW OF BKU (LAKHOWAL) LEADER I P7 OPPOSITION PARTIES HAIL SPIRIT OF FARMERS I P7 GURUPURAB was special this time for agitating farmers at Singhu. At first, they could not believe that the contentious farm laws were repealed. It took some time for the feeling to sink in among the men, women and children present at the protest site. Rooted at the national capital’s margin for more than a year, these sons of soil and their families have braved vagaries of weather, police action and the deadly wave of Covid pandemic. Now, all the EXCERPTS OF MODI’S ADDRESS TO NATION I P7 suffering felt vindicated. Smiling faces greeted each other and congratulated on the success of the protest which started on November 25 last year when thousands of farmers — mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh — marched towards Delhi and pitched their tents on the borders. By 10am, the stage was set for celebration. While union leaders discussed the Centre’s U-turn and their course of action, the youngsters were in a BITTER SWEET FOR BEREAVED KIN I P7 celebratory mood. Kisan Anthem, a song sung by Punjabi singer Mankirt Aulakh, reverberated across the protest site. Chants of ‘Kisan Ekta Zindabad’ were resounding. An 80-year-old farmer from Haryana broke into a song with the lines of “Modi sarkar ne duniya dukhi banayi.” Hugging was followed with ladoos and tea. Many of the farmers happily invited mediapersons and expressed their opinion on the development. “We are very happy DECISION IN NATIONAL INTEREST, SAYS BJP I P7 AN expert panel which will decide on recommending Covid-19 booster doses for the most vulnerable population in India could come up with its suggestions next week, sources have told this newspaper. Officials in the Union health ministry said the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation is scheduled to meet early next week. A possible policy to offer additional Covid shots to the immuno-compromised and those with comorbidities will be discussed. “There is an emerging understanding that a sizable chunk of the population which is immunocompromised or has serious ex- NATIONWIDE NOV 18 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 11,919 11,242 470 NOV 19 11,106 12,789 459 isting illnesses may need additional shots of Covid-19 vaccines, even after completing the two dose schedule,” said an official. “In order to specify who needs it and how long after having received the second dose is something that only the panel can recommend,” he added. It is being established through research that even though some of the vaccines may be capable of triggering immune response by up to one year or more, antibodies against SARS CoV 2 may be dwindling swiftly by six months after the second doses. Research has also shown that the existing vaccines, though potent, are far from perfect. They reduce the risks of severe disease, but do not eliminate them. DELHI Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths NOV 18 47 31 00 NOV 19 30 67 00 Globally, 38 countries are administering booster doses which include the US, Germany, Austria, Canada and France. However, the decision to deliver booster shots has been criticised by the WHO. Last week, its director called booster shots a “scandal” as poorer countries continue to wait for the first jab. In India, there have been reporters of several private hospitals delivering boosters to healthcare workers — who were among the first to receive Covid shots — without registering on CoWIN, the online platform driving the Covid vaccination. The hospitals have largely done it, in order to use their stocks in view of the declining demands, and also under pressure from some healthcare workers, industry insiders say . JAB-O-METER TAKE YOUR SHOT Nov 18 65,45,982 doses Nov 19 46,31,286 doses TOTAL DOSES: 115,73,24,921 with the announcement. This is the first time the PM has said something in 1.5 years. This Gurupurab has brought happiness and all the hard work has paid off,” said Nirmal Singh of Kisan Majdoor Sangharsh Samiti. As the day ended, cake cutting ceremonies were conducted and diyas were placed all across the protesting site. However, despite the celebrations, a concern was in the air. Farmers said that until they get anything in writing, they will not leave the protest site. CONTINUED ON P4 JUNKING REFORMS BAD FOR THE FARM SECTOR: ECONOMISTS I P10 Expert panel likely to decide on Covid booster dose next week S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi laws and Minimum Support Price. “The SKM reminds the Prime Minister that the agitation of farmers is not just for the repeal of the three black laws, but also for a statutory guarantee of remunerative prices for all agricultural produce and for all the farmers. This important demand of farmers is still pending. So is the withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill. The SKM will take note of all developments, hold its meeting soon and announce further decisions,” it stated. BKU’s Rakesh Tikait said the agitation wouldn’t die down anytime soon and will continue till the Parliament repeals these laws. “The agitation will not be withdrawn immediately we will wait for , the day when agricultural laws will be repealed in Parliament. Along with MSP the , government should also discuss other issues of farmers,” Tikait tweeted. APPEAL DAD OF SLAIN J&K YOUTH WANTS SON’S BODY MOONLIGHT SONATA Rashtrapati Bhavan illuminated on the occasion of World Children’s Day on Friday | PARVEEN NEGI Amid shutdown in Kashmir in protest against ‘civilian killings’, father of 22-year-old meets senior officials in police department for handover of son’s remains so that the family can arrange for proper and dignified burial PAGE 8 Char Dham priests to opt for own poll candidates E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ Dehradun PRIESTS of Char Dham have decided to field their own candidates in the upcoming state Assembly elections in at least 15 constituencies in and around the four shrines — Kedaranath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Char Dham Teerth-Purohit Hak Hakookdhari Mahapanchayat Samiti, which made the announcement, said the move is to protest against the Char Dham Devasthanam Board, the law enacted by the incumbent BJP government . Krishna Kant Kotiyal, president of the Samiti, said, “We have decided to field our can- didates. These seats will be in the vicinity of the Char Dham. We will tell people how the state gover nment has encroached upon our centuries old traditional rights.” Priests of the four shrines have been opposing the law framed to manage the four shrines and 51 temples associated with the shrines. Earlier this month, former CM Trivendra Singh Rawat was forced to return from Kedarnath by protesting priests, who raised slogans against him. During his tenure as CM this law was passed in 2019. The priests of the four Char Dham shrines are opposing the law, saying that it robs them of their traditional rights.
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