Amid farmers' protests, PM Modi hails new farm laws

NEW DELHI: Breaking his silence over farmers’ protests against recently passed farm laws, Prime Minister on Sunday said these legislations have opened new doors of opportunities for growers and given them more rights.

“The recently passed farm laws have created new possibilities for farmers and have opened new doors for farmers. The demands of the farmers that had continued for several decades have now been fulfilled. Most of the political parties have agreed to the demands of farmers at some point. The laws have been passed after detailed discussion in Parliament,” the prime minister said while addressing the nation in his monthly radio programme Mann Ki Baat.

He said farmers should not pay heed to rumours or those spreading misconceptions, adding that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre was committed to the welfare of the farmers of the country.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh have continued to protest against the laws since September when they were passed, despite repeated assurances by the union government and appeals to come to the table for talks.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led-NDA government had suffered a setback when Harsimrat Kaur Badal, former union minister and senior leader of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), resigned from the top post and the party quit the alliance following the protests against the laws.

The problem has exacerbated because all political parties of Punjab, including ruling Congress, SAD and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), have supported the demands of the protesting farmers and BJP has been left alone without any supporters.

“People should know how Jitendra Bhoiji, a farmer in Dhule, Maharashtra, used these new farms laws. He produced maize and decided to sell it to traders at the right price. The total amount agreed at was around 3.32 lakhs. He got 25,000 in advance. It was agreed that he will get remaining amount in 15 days but he did not get the payment. Under the new law, it is mandatory to pay within 3 days. If payment is not made, farmer can lodge complaint. He filed complaint and got his dues within few days. Whatever may be the field, the correct knowledge is an added strength for everyone,” said PM Modi.

Even as union ministers such as Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah and Narendra Singh Tomar have been trying to appease the farmers, some opposition-ruled states have begun working on laws to nullify those passed by the Parliament.

Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan have taken the lead and passed laws or formed rules to negate the central farm laws. Others like West Bengal are looking at options to counter the new Acts.

On a separate note, PM Modi, in his radio programme, said the work and research on a vaccine against covid-19 is on but asked people exercise caution takes precaution to protect themselves from coronavirus.

“After getting out of the lockdown phase, discussion has commenced on vaccine. But any kind of laxity with coronavirus is still very dangerous. We have to firmly keep fighting against the virus,” the prime minister said.

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