India's Modi repeals controversial farm laws

In a surprise concession on Friday (November 19), India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi said farm laws that sparked a year of protests will be scrapped.

"Today I have come to tell you, the whole country, that we have decided to withdraw, repeal all three agricultural laws."

Friday was a significant about-face for Modi, a combative leader, though the news comes just ahead of elections early next year in several states including Uttar Pradesh, the country's most populous.

Farmers feared the overhaul would cut the prices they get for their crops.

They staged nationwide protests that sometimes broke into violence, and drew in activists and celebrities from outside India, including climate activist Greta Thunberg and U.S. singer Rihanna.

Many of the largest are around the capital New Delhi, where they've been camped since last November.

The legislation was introduced months earlier in September.

The government had said the reforms meant new opportunities and better prices for farmers.

It let them sell produce beyond government-backed wholesale markets.

But small farmers said the changes would instead make them vulnerable to competition from big business.

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