The decision comes after year-long demonstrations that posed one of the biggest political challenges to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who swept polls for the second time in 2019.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to repeal three controversial farm laws against which farmers have protested for more than a year, a significant climbdown by the government.
"Today I have come to tell you, the whole country, that we have decided to withdraw all three agricultural laws," Modi said in an address to the nation on Friday.
"In the parliament session starting later this month, we will complete the constitutional process to repeal these three agricultural laws."
The laws were to empower small farmers, but the government failed to convince some farmers who have been opposing the new laws, Modi said.
The announcement came on the day of the Guru Purab festival, when Sikhism founder Guru Nanak’s birthday is celebrated, and ahead of key elections in states like Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
The legislation the farmers object to, introduced in September last year, deregulates the sector, allowing farmers to sell produce to buyers beyond government-regulated wholesale markets, where growers are assured of a minimum price.
Small farmers say the changes make them vulnerable to competition from big business, and that they could eventually lose price support for staples such as wheat and rice.
The government says reform of the sector, which accounts for about 15 percent of the $2.7 trillion economy, means new opportunities and better prices for farmers.
READ MORE: The farmers’ protests are the biggest political threat Modi has seen
Most of the protesters were Sikh farmers from Punjab.
The government had so far yielded very little to the drawn-out demonstrations that posed one of the biggest political challenges to Modi, who swept polls for the second time in 2019.
In November last year, the farmers escalated their movement by hunkering down on the outskirts of New Delhi, where they have camped out for nearly a year, including through a harsh winter and a coronavirus surge that devastated India earlier this year.
While the farmers’ protest movement has been largely peaceful, demonstrators in January broke through police barricades to storm the historic Red Fort in the capital’s center.
Clashes with police left one protester dead and hundreds injured.
READ MORE: Why are Indian farmers protesting for over a year?