Prime Minister Narendra Modi today strongly defended the farm laws that have triggered protests, saying the reforms were not "brought in overnight" but after discussions by every government in the past 22 years. He also added that talks of MSP or Minimum Support Prices ending with the new central laws "is the biggest lie ever". "These laws were not brought in overnight. In past 22 years, every government, state has discussed these in detail. Farmer groups, agricultural experts, economists, scientists and progressive farers have called for reforms. Parties opposing these laws today promised these reforms in their manifestos," PM Modi said, addressing farmers in Madhya Pradesh via video.
Here are the highlights of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech:
- Storage facilities and warehousing are very important in the farm sector. No matter how much effort a farmer puts in, if storage is not proper, it is a big loss. The loss is not just for the farmers, but for the entire nation.
- So, setting up food processing centres, warehouses, cold storages, dry storages, are important. We need to act on this now. We appeal to all to come forward and help set this up in a time-bound and fast manner. We cannot dump all the responsibility on the farmers. They already do a lot.
- Our government has been doing a lot to ensure farmers progress, their incomes grow.
These days there is a lot of talk about the new farm laws.
- These laws have not been brought in overnight. There has been a lot of thought that has gone into it.
- There were those, who governmed before us, who wrote tall promises in their election manifestos and gave big assurances to farmers, but after winning the elections they did nothing about the farmers and the promises made to them. For decades the farmers were neglected.
- What has taken these people by surprise that they now feel what we could not do in years, (PM) Modi has done it now. How has he been able to do it. So, now they just want to put a spoke in the wheel. They are now misleading the farmers.
- By telling the farmers lies about them losing space, these people are trying to find relevance and the political space they have lost now.
- Today, I tell in front of everyone, that if you want credit for the farm laws, please take it. These were all mentioned in your manifestos over the years. You couldn;t fulfil it. Now I have. So, please take the credit for it, because for me, the only thing that matters is the growth and progress for farmers.
- I want to caution all those who are being misled and instigated in the name of these farm laws. If you all have any genuine points you want to discuss, please being those issues and we shall discuss. But don't get misled by these people who are finding a ground by lying to you that you will lose yours.
- Even today, they are using you for their own personal benefits. They are just using you to do politics to find relevance today - since they have lost their political ground.
- Today I want to expose those who have absolutely no care or genuine concern for you - our annadata (farmers). The report that exposes them is the Swaminathan Committee report.
- What loud and large promises were made before the Madhya Pradesh elections, that if they win, they will write-off all the farm loans for every farmer in the state within 10. What happened after elections, what excuses were made after the polls, that you - the farmer of Madhya Pradesh know better than anyone else. They do nothing but lie and try to use you with promises or by playing on your fears.
- You did nothing about the Swaminathan committee report. It was our government that implemented it. It was our government that raised MSP. We did as was recommended by the Swaminathan report.
- If our intension was to remove MSP, then why would we even implement the Swaminathan report? You didn't neither would we have. But the truth is that we know how important MSP is, and hence we even worked to ensure that MSP was increased.
- I want to assure every farmer across India that MSP is here to stay. Neither will MSP be put on hold, nor will it be revoked. It shall continue to be given to you even after the implementation of the new farm laws.