"Centre Ready To Amend Farm Laws But...": Agriculture Minister To Critics

Farmers Protest: Hitting out at the opposition leaders, Agriculture Minister accused them of politicising the issue

'Centre Ready To Amend Farm Laws But...': Agriculture Minister To Critics

Farm Laws: Mr Tomar has led several rounds of discussions with protesters

New Delhi:

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Saturday yet again hit out at the critics of farm laws, especially the opposition leaders, as he suggested those opposing the new legislations seem to be missing the finer details.

"PM (Narendra) Modi and our government is committed to farmers' welfare. We are ready to make amendments but nobody should say the laws are flawed (for the sake of it). Nobody is in a position to give answers," the minister said at an event.

Mr Tomar has led several rounds of discussions with protesters to negotiate on the new agriculture laws, which has led to massive agitation near Delhi's borders since late November. Yesterday, farmers blocked a key highway near the national capital to mark the 100th day of their demonstrations.

"During negotiations, I spoke about the prospects of amendments. But I also said the amendment proposals don't mean the laws are flawed. I put forth the proposal only because the face of their protests are farmers," he said yesterday.

Hitting out at the opposition leaders, he accused them of politicizing the issue. "Even in parliament, I've put forth the centre's viewpoint. For hours, we heard all the opposition leaders in both the houses. Even after President's address, they (opposition leaders) only spoke about farmer protests. They didn't talk about laws," Mr Tomar said.

"It makes me sad that opposition leaders - each time they debated about new laws - they've never talked about clauses they oppose. In a democracy, everybody is free to do their politics. But should it be done at the cost of farmers' interests, national economy?"

"When a change is brought, it becomes difficult to implement it. Some people make fun, some people protest it. However, if the policy and intent is right behind the change, people eventually accept it," the Agriculture Minister further said.

The deadlock over the farm laws is set to become a poll issue as four states and a union territory elect their next government in a few weeks. Several opposition leaders, including Congress's Rahul Gandhi, have been relentlessly hitting out at the government for ignoring farmers' interests.

According to the protesters, the three contentious laws are likely to leave them at the mercy of corporates. However, Agriculture Minister on Saturday yet again said the laws are mean to bring reforms.

"Farmers should be able to send their produce freely at the price they want, where they want to the people they want and they can take risks....the centre has cleared reforms in this direction," he said.