(Reuters) – NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s parliament passed a bill on Monday to abolish three laws aimed at deregulating agricultural markets, caving in to farmer demands that the regulations be repealed after a year of protests.

Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration used an executive order, which is usually designated for emergency legislation, to introduce the agricultural laws, sparking India’s longest-running farmers protest. The Act was eventually passed by voice vote, generating significant criticism that it had been pushed through without appropriate debate.

Modi announced this month that his administration will abolish the rules in the next session of parliament in order to put an end to the demonstrations ahead of the state assembly election in India’s most populous Uttar Pradesh state early next year.

Both the lower and upper houses of parliament passed the bill to repeal the rules intended to deregulate and open up agricultural markets to firms as parliament reconvened for its winter session on Monday. Farmers have complained that the legislation will leave them with little negotiating leverage when dealing with large private buyers.

Thousands of people, including many elderly growers and women farmers, braved terrible weather and a devastating second wave of coronavirus illnesses to camp out on the outskirts of New Delhi during the last year as a result of the contentious legislation.

In addition to demanding that the law be repealed, protesting farmers are also requesting that Modi’s administration enact legislation to guarantee government pricing for products other than rice and wheat.

The government presently buys rice and wheat at state-determined Minimum Support Prices (MSPs), but only approximately 6% of India’s millions of farmers benefit from the subsidies.

Protesters are seeking MSPs for all crops, a move that has enraged farmers across the country and expanded the demonstration beyond Punjab and Haryana, India’s grain-growing provinces.

The administration has failed to respond to the demonstrators’ demand for MSPs.

Farmers applauded the news, but warned the protest would end only if the government pledged legislation on minimum support prices for all crops.

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