‘Farm law not passed in a jiffy’: Nirmala Sitharaman on HTLS 2020
HTLS 2020: The farmers have been protesting near Delhi for more than a week, demanding that the three farm laws be withdrawn. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said she is hopeful that a solution will be found soon.
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Friday that the Centre has given a lot of thought to the farm laws which were passed by Parliament in September. She also expressed happiness that the government has taken steps to resolve the impasse over these laws, which has led to protest by farmers near Delhi. Speaking on Hindustan Times Leadership Summit (HTLS), Sitharaman said she is hopeful that a solution will be found soon.
“Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a lot of homework happens before a final call is taken on anything. Consultations take place at various levels. These are things that have been in the discussion for a very long time. Every party has spoken about it, in fact these reforms were part of their manifestos. It was not something done in a jiffy,” Sitharaman said while speaking about the passage of farm laws.
“If there are farmers who have doubts and want to speak about it, I am glad that the agriculture minister is sitting and engaging in meaningful conversation with them with an open mind. I hope soemthing will come out of it,” she added.
She also said that between 2014 and 2020, the central government has proven that it takes the Minimum Supprot price (MSP) seriously. “We have allotted and also directly given the farmers a lot more money under MSP than what was done before. In the speech which PM Modi gave in Varanasi, he elaborated on how MSP has been used by this government to the benefit of the farmers,” the finance minister said.
Sitharaman further said that the MSP is not decided on whims and facies of some people. “There is a committee on agriculture costs and prices. It takes feedback from the ground, then decides on the costing and then figures are arrived at,” she added.
The farmers have been protesting near Delhi for more than a week, demanding that the three farm laws be withdrawn. The government has so far held four rounds of talks with them - the latest one moved a step forward on Thursday with the government agreeing to review the recently enacted legislation and “bring amendments” if required to address demands of farm unions.
Agriculture minister Narendra Tomar, railways, food and consumer affairs minister Piyush Goyal and minister of state for commerce Som Prakash, a lawmaker from Punjab, led the government side, while representatives of some of the biggest farmers unions in the country, mainly from Punjab, spoke for the farmers.
“The government has no ego issues. The talks were with an open heart. Farmers’ leaders raised several issues and gave us their views on them. We have assured them that each of the points raised by them will be reviewed by the government,” Tomar said after the discussions.
The next round of talks is scheduled for December 5.
The farmers have, meanwhile, given a Bharat Bandh call on December 8 if their demands are not met and the three farm laws - The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 - are not withdrawn.