During the discussion in Rajya Sabha, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar today said that if the government is ready to make any changes in the farm laws, it doesn’t mean there’s a problem in the laws. farmer “are being misled” that their land would be grabbed due to new farm law, he added.
“Farmers are being misled that others would occupy their land if these laws are implemented. Let me know if there is a single provision in Contract Farming law which allows any trader to snatch away the land of any farmer,” he added.
Highlighting the pro-farmer schemes of the Centre over the years, Tomar said that the government have brought a change in the lives of the people living in villages. “We continuously increased the fund for MGNREGA. When COVID-19 hit the country, we raised the fund allocation to MGNREGA from Rs 61,000 crores to Rs 1.115 lakh crores. More than 10 crore people were provided employment,” he said.
The Union minister further said the farmers are being instigated and that the protests against the three laws are “limited to only one state.” He also said that the farmer unions and the opposition parties “have failed” to point out a single flaw in three new farm laws.
The minister said the government has shown the proper respect to farmers and has engaged in talks with them but the government’s readiness for amendment “shouldn’t be interpreted” as if there are faults in the farm laws.
“We haven’t uttered a single word defaming farmers,” said Tomar on the allegations that the government and its supporters have been defaming the farmers.
The government, he said, is committed to welfare of farmers and to the continuation of the mandi system of procurement of crops on minimum support price (MSP) based mechanism.
The laws give farmers alternatives to sell their produce outside ‘mandis’, and unlike the state government notified market places, such sale would not attract any tax.
“The agitation should have been against the tax levied (by state government) on sale made in mandis but strangely the protests are against freeing of the system from such taxes,” he said, intervening during the discussion on a motion thanking the President for his address to the joint sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha at the start of the Budget Session.
Farmers have been staging a sit-in protest at Delhi’s borders since late November last year, alleging that the new farms laws will hurt their interests. The government has maintained that the new laws will benefit farmers and help them double their incomes. 11 rounds of talks have taken place between the Samyukta Kisan Morcha and government, led by agriculture minister Narendra Tomar, over the farm laws.
While the government has offered to suspend the implementation of farm laws for 18 months, the farmers have stayed firm on their demand of full repeal of the three laws.