Amid intensifying protest by farmers in different parts of the country against the farm-related Bills passed by Parliament in the recently concluded monsoon session, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said his is the first government in decades to have framed laws that benefit farmers, workers, women and other marginalised sections of the society.
Modi hit out at the Opposition for its attack on his government over the Bills — opposition parties have called these anti-farmer – and said those who have always “lied” to farmers are now “shooting from their shoulders” and misleading them for political benefit.
Addressing BJP workers on the 104th birth anniversary of Jan Sangh ideologue Deendayal Upadhyaya, the Prime Minister said small and marginal farmers, who constitute 85 per cent of the sector, will benefit the most from these reforms. He said these reforms will give them an option to sell their produce outside agriculture ‘mandis’ for a better price.
“We have taken well thought-out decisions that are not for any political benefit (to us) but for the empowerment and benefit of farmers. Earlier, we decided to give MSP that was one-and-a-half times the cost of production and created history,” he said.
This was the third time in recent days that Modi spoke in support of the Bills and countered the Opposition’s criticism.
The BJP has launched an aggressive counter-campaign after the Opposition, NDA ally Shiromani Akali Dal — the SAD walked out of government over the Bills — and some friendly parties are leading protests in agrarian areas, especially in Punjab and Haryana.
Targeting the Congress, Modi said hollow slogans were given in favour of farmers and workers for decades since Independence even as the party formed governments at the Centre and in states in their name. All that farmers and labourers got was a jumbled web of promises and laws, he said. “They are spreading rumours. Saving farmers from such rumours and explaining the importance of the agriculture reforms is the responsibility and duty of all BJP workers, because we have to make the future of farmers bright,” he said.
Parliament passed Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill in the monsoon session, which wound up on Wednesday, eight days ahead of schedule, amid protests by the Opposition.
The Opposition has claimed that the Bills will harm interest of farmers and benefit corporates, a claim denied by the government.
Modi also praised the new labour laws passed by Parliament and maintained that they will ensure timely salary for over 50 crore organised and unorganised workers.
While the trade union wing of RSS has opposed changes in labour laws, its farmers’ wing has raised voice against the farm Bills.
Modi said the government has taken every marginalised session along. “The government must use its resources more for (development of) the deprived and the marginalised. This birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal-ji is even more relevant as the reformist decisions taken by the government in recent times had the imprint of the vision shown by him,” he said.
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