Mann ki Baat: Farm sector playing key role in making India self-reliant, says PM Modi
The farm reforms introduced by the central government during the monsoon session of Parliament are benefitting farmers across the country and the agriculture sector is key in leading the country towards self-reliance, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday, days after nationwide protests were held by farmers’ groups and opposition leaders against the controversial new legislations.
In his monthly radio address Mann Ki Baat on Sunday, Modi cited the examples of several states to underline how farmers had benefitted when they were allowed a choice to sell their produce directly in the market.
“It is said that the one who is rooted to the ground, is equally firm during the course of the biggest of storms. In this difficult period of corona [pandemic], our agricultural sector, our farmers are a living testimony to this,” Modi said adding that the sector has been freed from restrictions.
Parliament has passed three bills that the Modi government says are aimed at unleashing reforms in agriculture. While some experts have hailed the move, farmer bodies and opposition parties allege that the laws will benefit only the corporate sector and traders.
The new laws aim to liberalise the agriculture sector by removing hurdles created by the Agriculture Marketing Produce Committee (AMPC) Act in direct procurement of agricultural produce by buyers and create a level-playing field for all, thereby allowing private players a bigger role in farm trade. Farmer bodies and opposition parties say that these reform bills take away price protection provided through MSP, whereas the government maintains that MSP will remain in place and the bills will ensure higher remuneration for farmers.
“I keep receiving letters from these farmers who narrate how new dimensions are getting added to agriculture,” the Prime Minister said.
Citing the example of Kanwar Chauhan in Haryana’s Sonepat district, and others who are selling directly in Delhi, Modi said: “What is different that these farmers have? They have the strength to sell their produce where they wish. Now the other farmers of the country have also got this strength. They have got the freedom to sell their produce, not just vegetables and fruits, where they want to.”
“The agricultural sector of the country, our farmers, our villages are the very basis of Atmanirbhar Bharat, a self reliant India. If they remain strong then the foundation of Atmanirbhar Bharat will remain strong,” the PM said, referring the government’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ [self-reliant] initiative.
Modi also spoke about paying tribute to freedom fighter Bhagat Singh on his birth anniversary on Monday, saying: “Can you imagine that an [British] Empire, which ruled over a huge chunk of the world... was terrified of this 23-year-old. Shaheed Bhagat Singh was as much a fighter as he was a scholar, a thinker.”
In the coming days, we will remember many great personalities who have contributed to the making of India, Modi said, adding that the country will remember its two “great sons” Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri on October 2.
The Prime Minister began his address by talking about the art of storytelling and its role in the Indian society. “Storytelling is as old as civilisation...I urge all storytellers to include all inspirational stories from the period of foreign rule as we are going to celebrate 75 years of independence,” he said.