NITI AAYOG CEO Amitabh Kant said Tuesday “tough” reforms are “very difficult in the Indian context,” as “we are too much of a democracy” but the government has shown “courage” and “determination” in pushing such reforms across sectors, including mining, coal, labour and agriculture.
In his remarks, coming amid talks between the government and protesting farmers over the new agricultural laws, Kant said the changes in the legislation provide alternatives to farmers to sell their crops without doing away with the system of MSP (minimum support prices) and mandis.
Speaking at an online event, ‘The Road to Atmanirbhar Bharat’, organised by Swarajya magazine, Kant said these reforms need to be implemented and more are needed in logistics and power sectors to make India a manufacturing powerhouse competing with China.
Responding to a query on whether the Covid-19 pandemic presents an opportunity for India to take the lead in manufacturing, given that similar attempts in the past had not taken off”, the NITI Aayog CEO said, “So tough reforms are very difficult in the Indian context, we are too much of a democracy. For the first time, the government has had the courage and the determination to carry out very hard-headed reforms across sectors… mining, coal, labour, agriculture… these are very, very difficult reforms… You needed a huge amount of political determination and administrative will to carry out these reforms which are being done.”
He added, “Agriculture must get reforms. It’s very important to understand this, that the present reforms, nobody is saying that we do away with the mandis, the mandis will exist, the MSP will be there. But (a) farmer gets alternate choices (to sell his crop). I am a great believer that the farmer must have a choice. Why should we force (him) to only go to one place, we give you opportunity to go to five other places. Somebody gives you more than the MSP, why should the farmer not get it? That is the objective of the reforms.”
About the guarantee of MSP through a legislation, which is one of the key demands of agitating farmers, Kant said he “(does) not want to comment” with the talks between farmers and the government on.
“And many more reforms still need to be done, as I mentioned to you, across logistics, across power,” the NITI Aayog CEO said. “But… this government has at least demonstrated its political will to do hard-headed reforms. And we need to see them through to become a major manufacturing nation. It is not easy to compete with China. It is not easy to become a manufacturing nation. It doesn’t happen out of holding seminars and webinars. It requires a very hard-headed, ground-level approach, which is being attempted for the first time in India.”
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