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‘Farmers being misled, reforms will give them options for a bigger market’: PM Modi in Varanasi

"Shouldn't a farmer get freedom to sell his produce directly to those who give them better prices and facilities," PM Modi said in Varanasi.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: November 30, 2020 10:39:06 pm
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during the dedication of 6-lane Prayagraj-Varanasi section of NH-19, in Varanasi (PTI)

In the backdrop of the raging farmer protests in and around the national capital, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said farmers were being empowered by giving them options for a bigger market and the “reforms have given them new options and legal protection”. Inaugurating the six-laning of the 73-km Varanasi-Prayagraj National Highway project during his visit to his Lok Sabha constituency, PM Modi said improvement in connectivity in a region would benefit farmers.

“When connectivity in a region improves, it also benefits the farmers there. Farmers are being empowered by giving them options for a bigger market. Reforms are being done in the interest of farmers, which will give them more options. Shouldn’t a farmer get freedom to sell his produce directly to those who give them better prices and facilities,” PM Modi said at the launch event.

The PM was accompanied by Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who has personally supervised the arrangements for the event.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi participates in Dev Deepawali festival, in Varanasi, Monday (PTI)

Despite PM Modi’s outreach, the farmers have rejected the Centre’s invitation for conditional talks and reiterated their demand for repeal of the three “pro-corporate” farm laws. The farmers have been camping outside Delhi since Friday.

Hitting out at the Opposition for “misleading” farmers on the new farm laws, PM Modi said, “Earlier decisions of government were opposed, now rumours have become basis for Opposition. Propaganda is spread that although decision is right, it can lead to other consequences, about things that haven’t happened or will never happen.”

Explained | Farmers’ big concern — and what govt could negotiate

With farmers expressing concern that the new farm laws were a roundabout way to eliminate procurement of wheat and paddy under minimum support price (MSP) programme, PM Modi said the promise of giving 1.5 times more MSP to farmers as per Swaminathan Commission was fulfilled.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Kashi Vishwanath Mandir (PTI)

“This promise was not only fulfilled on paper, but has reached the bank account of the farmers. Earlier, loan waiver packages used to be announced but the benefits of such schemes never used to reach the farmers,” he said.

PM Modi further claimed that it was because of this “long history of deceit” that farmers were again wary as they were seeing the new move in the same manner. He asked why his government would spend so much to modernise the ‘mandis’ if it planned to dismantle the MSP system.

He said small farmers would now be able to take legal action even on deals struck outside the mandis, which would not only provide them fresh alternatives but also protect them from being cheated.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a ride along the ghats on a cruise boat (PTI)

After the event, PM Modi visited the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir and inspected the Kashi Vishwanath temple corridor project. He also took a ride along the ghats on a cruise boat.

Also Read | Why protesting farmers are still talking of two 2018 private member Bills

Later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in Deepotsav celebrations at the Ganga ghats. This is the first time the Prime Minister attended the Dev Deepawali, which is celebrated on the 15th day after Deepawali. Arrangements were made for more than 15 lakh diyas, up from 10 lakh last year, which will be lit across 80 ghats.

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