India's president approves three controversial farm bills

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Sep 27, 2020, 07.58 PM(IST)

Protests over farm bills Photograph:( Reuters )

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One of the three bills has triggered nationwide protests by farmers, who say the legislation will pave the way for the government to stop buying grain at guaranteed prices and leave them at the mercy of big private buyers.

India’s president Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday approved three controversial farm bills that the parliament had recently cleared.

One of the three bills has triggered nationwide protests by farmers, who say the legislation will pave the way for the government to stop buying grain at guaranteed prices and leave them at the mercy of big private buyers.

Thousands of farmers in India blocked roads and railway tracks on Friday in a protest against the new legislation.

Also read | India's new farm bills: What's good, what may not be

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has defended the bills as reforms to help India’s vast agriculture sector get rid of antiquated laws and allow farmers to sell to institutional buyers and big retailers such as Walmart.

The government insists the new rules will give farmers the option to sell their produce to private buyers while it would still purchase staples such as rice and wheat at guaranteed prices.

The protests have remained peaceful but most growers, who hit the streets in large numbers, did not wear face masks despite a daily surge in coronavirus cases in India.

(with inputs from agencies)

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