The Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday slammed the opposition over farm Bill row and reassured the farmers that the new reforms are in their interest. The Minister said that the new Bills will bring revolutionary changes in the lives of the farmers as they would now be able to go to any buyer, get a price for their crops and even use newer technologies.
“Small farmers can now get a guarantee of their produce during the sowing of the crop. They can now go for expensive crops, use new technology, new seeds, good pesticides and reduce the input cost. These Bills are crucial and will bring revolutionary changes in the lives of farmers. I want to tell farmers that when provisions of these Bills will be implemented, there will change in their lives,” he told news agency ANI in an exclusive interview.
Coming down heavily on the opposition’s criticism for not including Minimum Support Price (MSP) as a provision in the Bill, the Minister asked why the Congress did not include it in the law when they were in power. He said that the MSP was not part of the law earlier and will not be included as such in future either.
However, echoing the Prime Minister, the Agriculture Minister reaffirmed that MSP and government purchase will continue as before. “Purchase on the MSP will continue. We have already announced the MSP for Rabi crops. I want to ask them whether MSP was part of any law before. Congress was in power for 50 years why did they not put MSP into law? MSP is not part of any law. Since Congress has nothing to say on bills, that’s why they are talking about MSP,” he said.
Tomar said there should be no politics on issues concerning farmers. “When we talk about farmers, there should not be politics on it. There has been a lot of injustice and exploitation of farmers. The Modi government has provided the freedom to farmers through these bills,” he said.
The minister said farmers will benefit because there will be no tax if the trade is taking place outside mandis and they will have the freedom to choose their way.
Explaining the situations under previous system prior to the reforms, the Minister said, “Farmers do farming and take their produce to mandis (markets). There are 25-30 people with licences in these mandis. They do auction of produce. Whatever price is decided in the auction, farmers were bound to sell their produce at that price whether they were happy or not because if they decide to take their produce and go home and come back again, they will have to pay additional logistics cost.”
“Farmers were facing problems. Our Act allows farmers to sell their produce to anyone anywhere according to their will. There is a tax in APMCs. Under the Bills, there will be no tax of either the state government or central government on trade outside Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC),” he added.
Meanwhile, the opposition appears to be in mood to listen to any of the arguments put forward by the Government. Protests in different parts of the country by various opposition parties are going on. The farmers on the other hand are still trying to understand what changes will be brought to their lives by the recently passed Bills.