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The introduction of three farm bills in the Parliament of India in September 2020 was followed by sustained protests from a section of the farmers. The farm bills, among other things, proposed to facilitate barrier-free trade and permit farmers to sell grain outside designated state-regulated mandis. On 19 November 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a televised address to the nation, announced that the government will repeal the farm bills, as it could not convince farmers on the merits of the bills.
What went wrong? Were the bills inherently flawed or was the process of passing the bills botched? Was it, as is often the case in public policy, good intentions, and poor implementation? Has India lost an opportunity to reform the agriculture sector and bring it into the 21st century? What is the future of the agriculture sector in India?
Professor Ajay Shah studied at IIT, Bombay and USC, Los Angeles. He has held positions at Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research (IGIDR), Department of Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Finance and National Institute for Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP). He does academic and policy-oriented research on India, at the intersection of economics, law and public administration. His second book, co-authored with Vijay Kelkar, is “In service of the republic: The art and science of economic policy”, and was published in 2019 by Penguin Allen Lane. His areas of focus are macroeconomics, finance, health, and technology policy. His work can be accessed on his home page (http://www.mayin.org/ajayshah) and on the blog that he edits, http://blog.theleapjournal.org
Professor Moumita Roy earned PhD from George Mason University in May 2021. She obtained MA in Economics from George Mason University in 2018, MSc in Economics (with specialization in Applied Quantitative Finance) from Madras School of Economics in 2015 and BSc (Hons) in Economics from Presidency College, Kolkata in 2013. She had worked as a Research Assistant in the Economics and Social Science Area of IIM Bangalore in 2015-2016. Her research interests are in Applied Microeconomics, Experimental Economics, Behavioral Economics and Political Economy.