Farmer leader Anil Ghanwat, one of the panel members, released the report in Delhi after his repeated requests to the Supreme Court to release the report did not elicit any response.
The Supreme Court-appointed panel to look into the now-repealed three farm laws found that about 86% of the farmer organisations supported the new farm laws. It’s a very significant development considering the three farm laws were repealed by the Union government in December last year after a year-long protest by the farmers.
The Supreme Court had stayed the implementation of the three farm laws and had formed a four-member panel in January last year to look into the laws and the grievances of the protesting farmers.
The panel had initially four members: agricultural economist Ashok Gulati, Shetkari Sanghatana President Anil Ghanwat, former South-Asia Director of the International Food Policy Research Institute Pramod Kumar Joshi, and the president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Mann), Bhupinder Singh Mann. Later, Mann had recused himself.
Ghanwat, in the press conference in Delhi, said that the panel had submitted the final report to the Supreme Court on March 19, 2021. But the Supreme Court did not make it Ghanwat said he wrote three letters to the Supreme Court requesting the court to release the report to the But his letters did not elicit any response from the court.
“If the Supreme Court had released the report in March last year, the three farm laws could have been saved,” Ghanwat said.
Of the 73 farm organisations the panel had interacted, 62 farmer organisations, representing almost 4 crore farmers, had supported the now-repealed farm laws.
Ghanwat said, “We submitted our final report to the Supreme Court on March 19 2021. The report identified a range of opportunities for improving farm laws and advised the Narendra Modi government on options for amending them. We also asked the government to communicate better with farmers to allay any unfounded concerns. And we advised against repealing the laws as it “would be unfair to the ‘silent’ majority who support them”.”
Commenting on the Minimum Support Price (MSP) issue, the report said, “Any product that is produced needs to be traded at a viable price. MSP is an indicative floor price to protect the farmers against any undue fall in prices, especially at the time of harvest. The government does not have the financial coffers to buy whatever is produced of all 23 commodities that are currently under the cover of MSP.”
In a televised address to the nation on November 19 last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced his government’s decision to repeal the three new farm laws in the then coming winter session of Parliament, which was scheduled to commence on November 29.
Prime Minister Modi said that despite his best efforts, he could not convince some farmers about the benefits of the three new farm laws. He also emphasised that he and his cabinet colleagues made multiple attempts to convince the farmers about the benefits of the three new farm laws.
In his address, Prime Minister Modi said that more than 80 per cent of the farmers of the country are small farmers who own less than two-hectare land. He had added that many farmers and farmers' organisations’ had welcomed the three new farm laws.
PM Modi had concluded his address, saying, “Whatever I had done, it was for the farmers of the country. And what I’m doing is for the country.”