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Sunday, January 23, 2022

PM Modi doubles down on farm laws, says are opening new possibilities

In his monthly 'Mann Ki Baat' address, Modi said that through these laws, demands of farmers had been met, which at one point of time or the other had been promised by every political party.

Written by Dipankar Ghose | New Delhi |
Updated: November 29, 2020 6:57:40 pm
Farm reform laws have broken farmers' shackles: PM Modi during 'Mann Ki Baat'Prime Minister Narendra Modi during 'Mann Ki Baat' on Sunday. (ANI)

Even as protests continue in and around Delhi against the farm laws passed by the government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that these “reforms had opened doors to new possibilities.”

In his monthly ‘Mann Ki Baat’ address, Modi said that through these laws, demands of farmers had been met, which at one point of time or the other had been promised by every political party. He asked the youth, “specially those studying in agriculture” to go to nearby villages, and create awareness about the recently passed laws among the farmers.

In his speech, Prime Minister Modi said that “new dimensions” were being added to farming and other allied industries. “The agriculture reforms in the last few days have opened doors to new possibilities. For years, the demands of farmers, demands which were promised at some or the other time by every political party, those demands have been fulfilled. After lots of discussion, the Indian Parliament gave agricultural reforms a legal recognition. These reforms have not only removed many restrictions for farmers, but have given them new rights, and new opportunities,” Modi said.

Modi said that these “new rights” had begun to remove problems of farmers already, citing an example of a farmer in Dhule district of Maharashtra, whose “full knowledge of the laws had come to his aid.” “Jitendra Bhoji had done farming of maize, and had decided to sell it at the right price to traders. The price for the crop was decided at 3.32 lakh rupees. Jitendra Bhoji also got 25 thousand rupees in advance. It was decided that the rest of the money would be given to him in 15 days. But later, the circumstances turned out such that he did not get the money. Buy the crop from the farmer, don’t pay for months on end. Perhaps people were following this practice for many years. In the same way, for four months, Jitendra ji’s payment did not happen. In this situation, the new farm laws came to his aid. In this law it has been decided that in three days, the farmer must be given full payment. And if the payment does not happen, then the farmer can register a complaint. The law has one more very big thing. In this law there is a provision that the area’s SDM has to address the complaint of the farmer within a month. Now when our farmer brother had the strength that came from this law, then his problem had to be solved. He complained, and in a few days, his dues were paid. In other words, full knowledge of the laws became Jitendra ji’s strength. Whatever the field, far away from every kind of rumour and misconception, correct information is a big aid for every person,” Modi said.

The Prime Minister also cited two other examples, of Mohammad Aslam of Baran in Rajasthan, a CEO of a local farmer producer organization, who has created a whatsapp group of farmers to tell him about prevailing mandi rates, and Virendra Yadav of Kaithal who has done business of Rs 2 crore in two years by selling farm stubble to agro energy plants and paper mills by using straw baler machines. “I request the youth, and specifically the lakhs of students studying agriculture that they should go to their nearby villages and bring awareness to farmers about the recently passed farm reforms. By doing this, you will be partners in the big change that is happening in the country,” Modi said.

With many of the those protesting against the farm laws  hailing from Punjab, the Prime Minister reached out to the Sikh community. He said the 551st Prakash Parva of Guru Nanak will be celebrated on November 30, and that his influence was visible across the world. Modi said that he had “received the opportunity” to help in the restoration of the Lakhpat Gurudwara Sahib in Kutch after it was damaged in the 2001 Bhuj earthquake. “Do you know that there is a Gurudwara in Kutch, Lakhpat Gurudwara Sahib? During his udasi, Guru Nanak ji had stayed in Lakhpat Gurudwara Sahib. In the 2001 earthquake, this gurudwara too had seen damage. It was my good fortune that I could ensure its renovation. Not only was the Gurudwara repaired but its pride and glory was reinstated. We all received blessings from Guru Sahib. The restoration efforts of the Lakhpat Gurudwara Sahib were given the 2004 UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Award. The jury found that the restoration kept in mind minute details and it also noted that the Gurudwara’s restoration didn’t just have the active contribution from the Sikh community, but it was done under their direction,” Modi said.

Modi also referred to the opening of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor as a historic event. “This is all our good fortune that we have the opportunity to serve Darbar Sahib again. For those Sikh brothers and sisters who live abroad, it has become easier to send donations to Darbar Sahib. With this the global community has come closer to Darbar Sahib. It was Guru Nanak Dev ji who started the tradition of langar. And now we have seen how the Sikh community, all over the world, has kept up with the tradition of feeding people in the times of Corona,” the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister also spoke about Shri Aurobindo, even reciting a poem in Bengali during the telecast, ahead of his death anniversary on December 5. “When we are moving forward with “Vocal for Local”, Shri Aurobindo’s Swadeshi direction shows us the path…He used to say Swadeshi means that we should give priority to products made by Indian artisans. It is not that Shri Aurobindo protested against learning from abroad. Whatever is new anywhere, we should learn. This is also the mantra of “Vocal For Local” in Aatmanirbhar Bharat… Shri Aurobindo used to say that our national education should be the training of our youth’s hearts and minds. Which means that the mind should be scientifically trained and the heart should have an Indian feeling. Only then can they become a better citizens of the country. What Shri Aurobindo had said about national education at the time, what he had hoped, the country is fulfilling that through the New Education Policy,” Modi said.

On COVID-19, Modi said that the world has seen many ups and downs since the discovery of the first coronavirus case in November last year, and that discussions have now shifted to vaccines. “But any laxity with regard to Corona is very dangerous. We have to keep our fight against Corona going with firmness,” Modi said.

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