APMCs to use ₹1 lakh crore fund, says Tomar, urges farmers to stop protest
The government has several times requested the protesting farmers to end their ongoing protests against the three farm laws. Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar again made the request on Thursday. The only difference was that the request came along with a few announcements for the farm sector taken in the very first meeting of the new Cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Agricultural Produce Market Committees will be able to use ₹1 lakh crore fund, the minister said, announcing the Cabinet decisions.
"Whatever the government announces it has the will to implement them. In this year's Budget, it was announced that mandis will not be stopped. It was also announced that APMCs will be allowed to use the ₹1 lakh crore fund allocated under Aatmanirbhar Bharat to Farmers Infrastructure Fund. In today's Cabinet meeting, it has been decided to implement that announcement. All state-centre co-operatives, federations, and autonomous federations will be able to utilise this fund," the minister said adding that many people will benefit from the tweaks that the Cabinet has introduced as criteria to avail of this fund.
On further talks between the government and the protesting unions, the minister said, "I have urged the unions several times that we are ready to talk on any issue except the repeal of the laws. The government has always been sensitive to the demands of the farmers. PM Modi government has the highest regard for farmers. We want farmers to prosper under this government. And the three laws are in that direction only. Farmers' union should now rethink the steps we are taking to strengthen APMCs."
"Since the protest began, you are seeing what we doing on MSP. Farmers from those areas which are at the forefront of the protest are reaping the maximum benefits of our MSP scheme. So I would again urge the union leaders to resume talks," the minister said.
In another agriculture-related decision, the Cabinet has decided to amend the Coconut Development Board Act, 1979 to make the post of chairman non-executive, as part of its efforts to boost production and productivity in this sector. The post of the chairman will be non-executive and there would be a CEO for executive powers. Those who have field experience will be appointed as non-executive chairman of the board.