India’s government passed bills that producers felt would hurt the industry
By Diego Flammini
An ag policy decision more than 10,000 km away has resulted in celebrations from Canadians.
Canadians are showing their support for Indian farmers after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided his government would repeal three farm bills it passed in September 2020.
The repeals are set to take effect in December.
The Indian government’s laws allowed farmers to sell goods directly to private buyers instead of solely participating in government-regulated transactions. The bills also provided frameworks for farmers to enter into written agreements with buyers.
But local farmers feared private businesses wouldn’t negotiate in good faith.
These laws led to year-long protests from farmers in India and demonstrations of support for local farmers from people around the world.
Canadians are happy these laws will be repealed.
“Many of these farmers who have been out protesting for over a year now can see light at the end of this tunnel,” Victoria, B.C.,’s Jatinder Singh, national director for Khasla Aid Canada, which provides humanitarian aid in disaster areas and civil conflict zones, told CBC. "The government, hopefully, has come to their senses and realized that when the masses are opposed to laws, that they really must listen to them."
Members of the Sikh community in Winnipeg, Man. are celebrating the decision in India as well.
Some have personal connections to farmers in the country.
“This is very close to home for someone like me,” Vineet Kaur Sidhu, a board member of Sikh Heritage Manitoba, told CBC. “My dad was a farmer. My uncles are farmers in India right now, sleeping on the streets to ensure that they are protesting.”
Some Canadian supporters didn’t think the Indian government would reverse course on these laws.
This situation is an example of farmers standing up for what they believe in, said Jaskaran Sandhu, director of administration at the World Sikh Organization.
There were a lot of naysayers who said Modi would not break,” he told the Associated Press. “The story of the farmers’ movement is very much a story of an underdog winning. We will spend the rest of our lives looking back at this movement.”
Canadian lawmakers also took note of the repeals.
“A huge win for the #FarmersProtest!” Rachna Singh, the NDP MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers in B.C., tweeted out in response to the news.