Updated: February 8, 2021 9:08:47 am
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will reply to the debate on the motion of thanks on the President’s Address in Rajya Sabha on Monday. This will be his first address to Parliament after the farmers’ protest erupted and reached the gates of the national capital.
But he has spoken about the three farm laws passed by his government and the agitation on many occasions outside Parliament. Here’s what he has said.
On August 9, while launching a central financing scheme under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, the Prime Minister spoke about the laws for the first time. He said that through the laws, the “farmer is freed from the purview of the market and market tax”. And “another new law has been framed, under which the farmer can now have a direct partnership with the industries”.
Referring to the amendments in the Essential Commodities Act, he had said “this law was the major reason why good warehouses could not be built in the villages and the agro-based industries were not getting encouraged. This law was being frequently misused… Now the agriculture business has also been freed from this fear mechanism. Now the traders and businesses can come forward to build storages and make other arrangements in the villages.”
In his Independence Day address, Modi said: “Who could have imagined that so many changes would be made in the APMC Act for the welfare of farmers? Who could have thought that the farmers who were living under the Damocles’ sword of the Essential Commodities Act, would be freed of it after so many years?”On September 18, a day after the Bills were passed in Lok Sabha despite protests, and the Akali Dal’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned from the cabinet, Modi said “some people who ruled the country for decades, are trying to create confusion, and are lying to the farmers”. He also accused the opposition of “supporting the middlemen who loot the farmer’s income”.
Addressing a BJP event on September 25, he said the laws will benefit and empower farmers and accused the opposition of spreading rumours.
On September 27, in his monthly Mann Ki Baat radio address, the Prime Minister said “the agricultural sector of the country, our farmers, our villages are the very basis of Atmanirbhar Bharat… In the recent past, these areas have liberated themselves from many restrictions and tried to break free from many myths.”
On November 30, he said: “The farmers are not to be blamed, but I want to tell the countrymen, my farmer brothers and sisters that work is being done with intentions as pure as Gangajal.”
On December 12, while addressing the 93rd annual general meeting of FICCI, he said “walls” in the “agriculture sector and allied sectors like agriculture infrastructure, food processing, storage or cold chains” are being “dismantled and all obstacles removed”.
On December 15, after laying the foundation stone of development projects in Kutch, he said “the demand for the recent agricultural reforms was being made for several years… Those in the opposition who are misguiding farmers were in favour of these agricultural reforms when they were in power.”
On December 18, while addressing a kisan sammelan in Madhya Pradesh, he said “political games are being played by spreading and weaving a web of confusion and lies. Attacks are being mounted from the shoulders of the farmers…”
On December 25, Modi said: “We are closely watching a very mean example of politics of selfishness. The parties which do not speak on the harms of the farmers in West Bengal are here to harass the citizens of Delhi… You may have heard these parties which are shouting about mandis and are talking about APMC… They have their government in Kerala…Kerala does not have APMC and mandis…”
On December 28, after flagging off the 100th Kisan Rail, he declared “we will continue to walk on the path of empowering Indian agriculture and the farmer with all sincerity and with full force”.
On January 30, days after the Red Fort was stormed, the Prime Minister spoke about reconciliation. At an all-party meeting, he assured that “the government is approaching the issue of farm laws with an open mind”. The offer to keep the implementation of the farm laws on hold for 18 months “still stands”, and “the Agriculture Minister is just a phone call away for taking forward the talks.”
But on January 31, in his Mann ki Baat address, the PM said the country was “saddened by the insult to the Tricolour on the 26th of January in Delhi”.
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