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‘Are you a spokesman of those pushing false narrative’: Watch as Hardeep Puri gives Rajdeep Sardesai a quick lesson in journalism

Union Minister Hardeep Puri reminded the journalist, how he had tried to pull off a similar stunt with him when he questioned him on civil aviation earlier.

Once again the senior ‘journalist’ Rajdeep Sardesai was seen receiving a lesson or two in journalism after he questioned Union Minister Hardeep Puri on the current impasse between the central government and the ‘farmers’ of Punjab and Haryana over the new farm laws, during the Prime Time show on India Today on Friday.

“Rajdeep are you an objective anchor or are you a spokesman of people who are trying to push a false narrative”, lambasted the Union civil aviation minister, as India Today journalist Rajdeep Sardesai tried to put words in his mouth questioning him on why the Modi government had failed to give assurance to the agitating farmers.

In a snippet of the India Today interview shared by @NagpurkaRajini on Twitter, Hardeep Puri reminded the journalist, how he had tried to pull off a similar stunt with him when he questioned him on civil aviation earlier. “Let me caution you, this is not journalism. Then too, I had to push the fact in front of you, you are doing precisely that”, said the irked Union Minister, explaining how the opposition has been spreading canards over the recent farm laws and instigating protests.

When asked by Rajdeep as to why Modi government could not give assurance to farmers earlier and waited for the farmers to hit the streets, Hardeep Puri, without mincing his words, stated that the central government has always been willing to give assurance but it is the opposition who has been playing politics over the issue.

Whether it took PM Narendra Modi to give a statement or Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar to give a written assurance, the Central government has never shied away from addressing the concerns of the protesting farmers, said Puri, reiterating the Centre’s stand that if they have any concerns about the farm laws, it will sit across the table and resolve those.

Puri reminded Sardesai how the opposition had created a ruckus in the Upper House when the Farm Bills were passed. He reminisced how slogan-shouting opposition members including those of Congress, TMC, DMK and CPM, tore papers, tried to heckle the presiding officer who was protected by House marshals.

I advise you to behave like an objective anchor: Hardeep Puri to Rajdeep Sardesai

Saying so, Hardeep Puri gave a piece of advice to the senior ‘journalist’ Rajdeep Sardesai. He asked him to try and isolate people who speak with a forked tongue and advised him to try and behave like an objective anchor to maintain credibility.

It is pertinent to note here, that ever since the Modi government has brought in the new Farm Bills, the opposition parties and the leftist media has been using it to reboot their plummetting careers. By pointing out non-existent flaws in the Farm Bills, the opposition parties have been spreading canards and instigating ignorant farmers who have ever since been demanding the repeal of laws. 

The farmer unions had boycotted the 6th round of talks with the government demanding the repeal of laws. The central government had agreed to make amendments in the farm laws considering the concerns of the farmers. However, the farmer representatives have said that they will accept nothing short of repeal of the laws.

What are the farm laws? 

One of the biggest factors plaguing the growth of agriculture sector in the country is the inability of the farmer to find a market and to get a fair price to his produce. To address the issue, the erstwhile governments of different states enacted the Agricultural Produce Market Regulation Acts (APMC Acts), which authorised them to set up and regulate marketing practices in wholesale markets. 

The objective of these markets was to ensure that farmers get a fair price for their produce. However, with each passing year, the APMCs turned out to be inefficient with increasing cartelisation of middlemen, ban on private players to enter the trade, increasing corruption etc. 

The Modi government recently introduced three bills to promote much easier trade for the farm produce and to provide a competitive market for the producers outside the existing APMC system. The three laws were

  1. The Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020: This law aims at creating additional trading opportunities outside the APMC market yards to help farmers get remunerative prices due to additional competition
  2. The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020: This law relates a framework for contract farming through an agreement between a farmer and a buyer prior to the production or rearing of any farm produce. 
  3. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020: This law aims to regulate the supply of certain food items only under extraordinary circumstances.

It is pertinent to mention that the farm laws are set of three laws that allow farmers to sell their products outside APMC act (most states make it compulsory for the farmers to sell at APMC mandis). It also allows farmers to directly have a contract with corporate houses.

That farm laws don’t do away with APMC, and if someone is not willing to trust markets outside the current system, they are free to stick to the ongoing system. It doesn’t do away with MSPs either. However, the prevalent narrative that seems to be motivated by political concerns falsely claims that APMCs and MSP are being done away with. 

They also allege that due to these laws, big corporations would have the upper hand in a deal with farmers, however, that again is a lie. In fact, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 ensures that a contract is agreed upon and gives the farmer the power to even cancel contracts.

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