This Article is From Jan 18, 2021

"PM Took Brave Step To Bring Reforms": Agriculture Minister On Farm Laws 

Previous governments could not bring reforms because of pressure tactics, says Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar's ahead of round 10 of centre-farmer talk on Tuesday.

'PM Took Brave Step To Bring Reforms': Agriculture Minister On Farm Laws

Minister Narendra Tomar claimed "most farmers and experts in favour of farm laws".(File)

New Delhi:

Indicating that the government was in no mood to repeal the three contentious laws, as sought by farmers, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's “brave step” after years of discussions will reform the sector and improve farmers' standard of living. 

“Obstacles arise every time reforms are introduced. The previous governments could not introduce these reforms because of pressure tactics. Some people are spreading misinformation that MSP (minimum support price) is being discontinued. We have reassured multiples times that this won't happen. The centre has even said it will increase procurement through MSP,” Mr Tomar said ahead of round 10 of centre-farmers talks, where government support price for crops is likely to be the main subject of discussion. 

The statement is being seen as a reiteration of the government's stand that it was only willing to discuss the laws clause by clause and amend them suitably – something that has been rejected by farmers, who called the last round of talks “120 per cent failure”

The minister added that the laws were made after extensive discussions between experts, scientists and farmer unions based on recommendations of a panel led by Professor MS Swaminathan, the father of India's Green Revolution. 

He also cited agriculture budget figures for this fiscal against those in 2013-14 when the PM Modi-led government first came to power to showcase the government's commitment towards farmers' welfare. “There will be a five-fold increase in the agriculture budget,” he added. 

As farmers' protest against the three laws rage on around Delhi's borders, Mr Tomar, on Sunday, had claimed" most farmers and experts were in favour of farm laws”. 

Since November 26, farmers associated with over 400 unions have camped around Delhi in decrepit conditions demanding the repeal of these laws saying they would leave them vulnerable to exploitation and legal guarantee for MSP. 

With both parties willing to blink, the centre-farmer talks have hit an impasse. 

Hearing the matter, the Supreme Court had recently pulled up the government saying it was "extremely disappointed" by handling of the crisis, and put the implementation of these laws on hold. 

It also formed a committee to mediate, but this has been rejected by farmers who said the members were pro-laws and accused the government of engineering the situation. 

On Friday, the farmers had accused the government of “wasting time” and later said it has resorted to “atrocities” through the National Investigation Agency, which summoned 40 people -- including farmer leader Baldev Singh Sirsa -- for questioning in a case related to the banned outfit Sikhs For Justice. 

Incensed, they have refused to call off their Republic Day tractor rally but said they will not enter Delhi and that it would be peaceful. “We hope the police in Delhi and Haryana will cooperate”, the farmers have said. 

However, the government is opposing the rally in the Supreme Court, which today pushed the hearing for Wednesday, saying the decision on who enters Delhi rests with the police