Farmers’ protests more political in nature, says Union minister VK Singh
Union Minister VK Singh on Sunday said the on going protests by farmers against the three Central farm laws was “more political” in nature and underlined the NDA government’s intent to ensure the welfare of the ryots.
Speaking to reporters here ahead of his interaction with farmers, the Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways claimed that “actual farmers are very happy with what has been done in last six months.” He sought to allay fears on Minimum Support Price (MSP) and other issues, saying MSP will carry on while contract farming will only benefit the farmers.
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“Lot of misconceptions are being given where farmer issue is concerned. Farmers all over India mostly are happy, actual farmers are very happy with what has been done in last six months,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ensured the benefit goes to the farmers, Singh said, adding, “the present agitation actually is more political than about farmers.” Farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting for the last 25 days outside Delhi against the recently enacted three farm laws, with five rounds of talks with government so far failing to break the deadlock.
Singh further said that other political parties, whether Congress, AAP or the NCP led by Sharad Pawar, all of them wanted that farmers should have the freedom from the agricultural produce marketing committee (APMC) and “they didnt want them tied up to these mandis.” He said Modi has the “highest regard” for the farm sector and assured the government was with the farmer and pointed out at the various schemes including insurance and soil card to benefit them.
“The government wants the farmer, who feeds the nation, to feel protected, to get the benefit of the government’s protection so that his income can be doubled,” he said.
“...the farmer must understand that there are people who are misleading them and that is why I have come here to explain to our farmers that things are good, not as being given out by people,” he said.
The legislations in question aim at protecting the farmer and one of them says the farmer is free to sell his produce anywhere he wants with “India being one market” for him, Singh said.
“This is beneficial to the farmer since he can get better price.. what happens in the mandi is price is decided by the middlemen, the commission agents,” he said.
The farmer has now been “freed from this,” but some were insisting “we want the mandis.” “Mandis are going go stay. No problem in that. A voice is raised on Minimum Support Price. The bill (Act) says minimum support price will stay,” Singh added.
“So this misconception that has been created in the minds of our farmers friends needs to be taken away,” he said.
On contract farming, he said the government has ensured the farmer gets the benefit irrespective of the price fluctuation and is especially in a position of advantage when the prices go up.
“Land is free from this contract and is provided protection...the farmer is provided protection from any exploitation by a contractor,” the minister said.
Singh later tweeted he attended a Kissan Sammelan Programme here.
“Having interacted with people here, one can feel that farmers are excited about the #FarmBills2020 brought by the @narendramodi government and feel that these historic reforms were long due. #GenerallySaying,” he said in the tweet.
He further tweeted some political parties,”to hide their historic incompetence,” were adamant on misleading farmers about bills which will bring welfare and prosperity to them.