Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday said that the Modi government is ready to hold discussions with farmers to clarify on the farm laws amidst the ‘farmers’ protests along the Tikri border near the national capital.
Addressing a press conference over the ongoing protests by farmers from Punjab, the Union Minister categorically stated that there is no question of withdrawing the three farm laws but would definitely open to hear and consult farmers regarding the provisions of the law that may have adversely affected the farmers.
“Any law cannot be entirely defective. Government is ready to discuss the provisions that may adversely affect the farmers,” said Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.
The Union Minister also reiterated that the new laws passed by Parliament in September will benefit the farmers and also urged farmers to go through the proposal of amendments that government is planning to incorporate in the farm laws and set a date for discussion.
“I would like to urge the farmers that if they want to discuss our proposal, they should definitely come to us. We are ready for discussions,” said Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.
MSP has nothing to do with the farm laws, says Agri Minister
Union Agriculture Minister Tomar also assured farmers that the new laws will not affect the APMC Act or the minimum support price (MSP) mechanism.
“MSP has got nothing to do with these laws and they do not affect MSP at all,” said Tomar stating that Prime Minister had already explained to farmers and assured the farmers that MSP will continue.
Reiterating government’s stand, the Agriculture Minister said that laws were passed in an effort to free farmers from the Mandi system and allow them to sell their crops outside the marketplace.
The minister also said that the government wanted to liberate the farmers of the shackles of mandi so that they could sell their produce anywhere, to anyone, at his own price, outside the purview of mandi.
We sent a proposal to farmers. Thet wanted that laws be repealed. We are of the stand that govt is ready for open-minded discussions on provisions they have an objection against. Laws don’t affect APMCs or MSP. We tried to explain this to farmers: Agriculture Minister#FarmLaws pic.twitter.com/BnBge5Y6tr— ANI (@ANI) December 10, 2020
“During the talks, many said that farm laws are invalid as agriculture is State subject and Centre can’t frame these laws. We clarified, we have the right to make laws on trade and explained it to them. APMC & MSP are not affected by it,” said Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.
The entire country has witnessed that Swaminathan Commission report came in 2006, the recommendation about MSP at 1.5 times cost of production remained pending till Modi government implemented it.
Contract farming exists across the country already: Minister Narendra Singh Tomar
Clarifying on the aspects of contract farming, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said it is being projected that the land of farmers will be occupied by industrialists through contract farming. He said that the contract farming has been going on for long in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Punjab, Karnataka but there has never been such experience.
“Still, we have already made provision in the Act that agreement under these laws will only be between processors and farmers’ produce. There is no provision for any lease or agreement over farmers’ land,” said Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar addressing the press conference along with Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.
The entire country has witnessed that Swaminathan Commission report came in 2006, the recommendation about MSP at 1.5 times cost of production remained pending till Modi government implemented it: Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar pic.twitter.com/qb1lzWPgfV— ANI (@ANI) December 10, 2020
He added, “Law provides that if farmer and processor enter into an agreement and the type of crops is such that some infrastructure has to be set up on the farmer’s land, then the processor will dismantle his infrastructure from thereafter the agreement concludes”.
Meanwhile, Union minister Piyush Goyal who was also present at the briefing, said, “Modi government was, is and will continue to be committed to the farmers of the country”.
Union Minister Goyal said that there were some concerns that farmers will be forced to sell their produce in the private market, which is completely erroneous as there is absolutely no provision in the law which brings an element of compulsion on any farmer.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Centre had presented a proposal for possible amendments in the bills to the representatives of protesting farmers, which the farmer unions rejected and said they will intensify their protest for the repeal of these laws.