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Farm Bills ‘needed for 21st century India,’ says PM Modi amid protests

 Taking a dig at the opposition, Modi said a few people are trying to "mislead and instigate the farmers" as they "feel that control is slipping away from their hands"

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: September 21, 2020 7:59:59 pm
Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said the farm reforms bills passed by Parliament are “needed for 21st century India.” Allaying fears of the farmers, Modi said, “I want to make it clear these laws are not against agriculture ‘mandi’, it will continue like it always has. I want to assure every farmer that the Minimum Support Price system will continue as before.”

The prime minister’s remarks come amid protests by the opposition over the passage of the bill in Rajya Sabha. Taking a dig at the opposition, Modi said a few people are trying to “mislead and instigate the farmers” as they “feel that control is slipping away from their hands”

Addressing the nation, while laying down the foundation of nine highway projects in Bihar, Modi said, “Yesterday, two farm bills were passed in the Parliament. I congratulate my farmers. This change in the farming sector is the need of the present hour and our government has brought this reform for the farmers.” “The laws around produce and yield earlier had tied the hands of farmers. People were taking advantage of farmers — that’s why it was important to bring change in this situation,” Modi further said.

After the bill was cleared in Rajya Sabha on Sunday, Modi said the passing of the legislation was a “watershed moment in the history of Indian agriculture.” “For decades, the Indian farmer was bound by various constraints and bullied by middlemen. The bills passed by Parliament liberate the farmers from such adversities. These bills will add impetus to the efforts to double income of farmers and ensure greater prosperity for them. This is a welcome step,” Modi had tweeted.

The Rajya Sabha on Sunday witnessed tumultuous scenes during the passage of the contentious farm bills — The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020; and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 — as members from Opposition parties snatched and threw papers from the table and even broke the chairman’s mic.

Farmer protest in Patiala on Friday

The farm bills have triggered strong protests among farmers, especially in north India, who say the legislation will hurt their earnings but the government maintains that they will make it easier for farmers to sell their produce directly to big buyers. The opposition by farmer groups in Punjab and Haryana, is primarily to the first ordinance that allows sale and purchase of crops to take place outside state government-regulated APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) mandis.

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