Friday 30 October 2020
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Modi wages war on brokers in agriculture to raise farmer income

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Be cautious against those trying to mislead you by creating doubts, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi to farmers on 18 September, a day after BJP’s oldest ally Shiromani Akali Dal pulled out its only minister from the union cabinet over the farm bills. The prime minister, without naming anyone, said some are “bent upon spreading lies”.

The farmers’ produce trade and commerce (promotion and facilitation) bill, 2020 and the farmers (empowerment and protection) agreement on price assurance and farm services bill 2020, were passed by the Lok Sabha on 17 September that led to opposition by the Indian National Congress(INC) and resignation of Union minister Harsimar Kaur Badal of the Akali Dal.

“Those who did nothing for decades when they were in power are today opposing the bills for agriculture reforms aimed at deregulating the farm sector to give farmers better options and opportunities. The bills are aimed at unshackling the farmers and protecting them from middlemen. They can now sell their produce anywhere, anytime on their own terms,” the prime minister said.

Modi was speaking at the launch of 12 railways projects, including the long-awaited Kosi Rail Mahasetu connecting Kosi and Mithila regions, in Bihar through video conferencing.

Aware of the opposition to the farm bills, especially by the INC and also from SAD, Modi congratulated the farmers for the bills that he said would usher in greater freedom and returns for their produce and work as a ‘protective cover’ for them.

“Some people are bent upon spreading lies and siding with middlemen despite having done nothing for farmers for decades when they had the opportunity. They talked about it, mentioned it in their manifestoes before elections and conveniently forgot about it later, but when the NDA government has done it, they have problems. They have developed a tendency of opposing for the sake of opposing,” he added.

Modi said the farmers of the country needed to be cautious against those trying to mislead them by creating doubts. “They are spreading rumours that the government will not procure foodgrains at the minimum support price (MSP). Let me tell you, it is wrong. The government is committed to ensuring MSP to farmers. The government procurement will also continue as it is today,” he added.

Referring to CM Nitish Kumar, Modi said Bihar understood the problems of farmers due to agriculture produce market committee (APMC) Act quite early and now the Centre was following the Bihar model. Bihar had dissolved all agriculture marketing committees and marketing boards in the state in 2006 after repealing the state government’s then APMC Act.

Modi said that the NDA government had done so much for the farmers in the last six years that was never done earlier. “We have looked into each problem the farmers have to face. To prevent farmers from falling into loan trap, the Prime Minister Kisan Kalyan Yojana was launched and so far over 10-crore farmers have benefited from it, wherein over Rs 1-lakh crore has been directly deposited into their bank accounts without any middleman,” he added.

Modi said that his government, aware of the irrigation problems, is spending Rs 1 lakh crore on the Kisan Sinchai Yojana. “The first Kisan rain also ran from Bihar to Maharashtra. A lot has been done and a lot more will be done for the welfare of the farmers. They need to guard against those who don’t want betterment of farmers. We want to unshackle farmers so that they could have multiple options and opportunities to increase their income,” he added.

Shiromani Akali Dal’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal had resigned yesterday due to the amendments in the agriculture-related central laws in the country.

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