July 9, 2021 4:12:18 am
The Union Cabinet on Thursday decided to modify the Rs 1-lakh crore Central Sector Scheme finance facility under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, which Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said will increase capacity of Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs).
Tomar reiterated the government’s stand that short of repealing the three farm laws, against which farmers have been protesting since December last year, the government is willing to discuss any proposal from farmers’ unions.
Briefing the media on the Cabinet decisions, Tomar said, “I have told them (farmer unions) multiple times that apart from repealing the laws they can bring forward any proposal. We are ready to discuss.”
He urged farmers to end their agitation and appealed to them to adopt the “medium of consultation”, assuring that the government is ready for discussions. “I want to tell friends connected to the farmers’ agitation that it is said the new laws will finish the APMC”, but the government had assured in this year’s Budget that “mandis will be strengthened”.
Tomar said opponents of the farm laws had claimed MSP will be affected, but harvest and procurement has gone up since the agitation started. He added that areas where more farmers are participating in the agitation are those where farmers have got “thousands of crores of rupees in payment as MSP”.
The Rs 1-lakh crore Agriculture Infrastructure Fund was provisioned under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat package in the Budget, and APMCs will be able to use that now to increase their resources, Tomar said.
The Cabinet also approved an amendment to the Coconut Development Board Act, 1979, to make the Board’s chairman a non-executive post. This, the government said in a statement, “will be beneficial to coconut growers”. Tomar said there will be a CO for executive powers.
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