Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has welcomed Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) head Sharad Pawar’s recent comments on the new farm laws. Pawar had on 1 July given a suggestion that the government could, rather than scrapping the new farm laws as demanded by a section of farmers, amend certain provisions therein.
Tomar said that the government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi was committed to the development of farmers. In the last seven years, he said, the government has only taken measures that benefit the farmers and ensure that their profit increases.
“Various schemes were introduced to benefit them. The change in farm laws was brought based on the recommendation of the Swaminathan Committee report that was submitted in 2006 to the UPA government that just sat over it without any apparent action” he said.
Stating that the new farm laws were needed to change the lives of farmers, he said, “I welcome the comment made by Sharad Pawar who said all laws must not be changed but only objectionable ones. He is right to say that these things can only be solved through deliberations. Modi government is doing exactly that.”
“We spoke with the farmers at least 11 times. The solution will come out through talks,” Tomar added.
While speaking at an event of a private university in Mumbai yesterday, Pawar had said that parts of contention that were causing grievances to farmers could be amended instead of the entire laws being scrapped.
“Instead of rejecting the entire bill, we can demand amendment in the part about which the farmers have an objection,” he said.
Farmers from Punjab and Haryana have been protesting since last November against the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. They have alleged that these laws will end the mandi and MSP procurement systems and leave the farmers at the mercy of big corporates, even as the government has rejected these apprehensions as misplaced.
The government and farmer unions have held 11 rounds of talks so far, the last being on 22 January, to break the deadlock and end the protest.
Talks have not resumed following widespread violence during a tractor rally by protesting farmers on 26 January. Notably, the Supreme Court has already put on hold the implementation of the laws till further orders and has set up a committee to find solutions, and it has already submitted its report.