Union Ministers Hail New Farmer Bills Passed in the Parliament

Parliament-India.
Parliament of India. Image - YinYang, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Saturday discussed with the farmers living in the border areas of Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir the virtues of the new farm laws, saying “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has corrected a huge anomaly in the farming sector”.

Singh said the earlier system of middlemen taking charge of the crop and arranging for its sale might have been relevant till about two decades ago but today’s farmer is young, educated, well-informed and well-connected and, therefore, capable of exercising the option of choosing the buyer for himself.

Today’s farmer, reiterated Singh, is actually an agricultural technocrat who has the capacity to decide sitting on a computer which will be the most profitable crop to sow in the coming season.

He said the farmer today also has the facility to discover online to whom best to sell his product across the country.

Singh said with the kind of means and opportunities available to the young agricultural technocrats of today, we have no right to deprive them of the avenues available to other technocrats and entrepreneurs.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has corrected a huge anomaly in the farming sector of India, he added.

Allaying apprehensions that big business houses will take over farming and the farmers’ land will be forcibly taken over, Singh said, the new laws have ensured all safeguards. He again alleged that all the hue and cry is being raised by professional protesters who have nothing to do with farming.

The interaction was arranged by the Kathua unit of the BJP led by its District President Raghunandan Singh.

Union Labour and Employment Minister Santosh Gangwar on Saturday said that the new farm laws and labour reform codes will benefit farmers and workers immensely.

Elaborating on farmer-friendly initiatives of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, the minister informed that the budget of the agriculture ministry has been increased 11-fold to Rs 1.34 lakh crore from Rs 12,000 crore in 2009-10 during the UPA regime.

This, he said, reflects Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment for the welfare of farmers in the country.

Speaking at a national conference organised by PHD Chamber of Commerce through video conference, Gangwar said that the new farm laws are aimed at providing marketing freedom to farmers for selling their produce anywhere in the country. Gangwar emphasised that farmers would now be able to sell their produce at better prices in other states as well.

The minister also brushed aside apprehensions about scrapping of MSP saying there has been considerable increase in the crops’ support price compared to the UPA regime. Farmers in Punjab and Haryana have been protesting since the two Houses of Parliament last month passed The Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 during the monsoon session.

Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, a leader of NDA ally Shiromani Akali Dal — which enjoys significant support among the Sikh peasantry in Punjab and Haryana — had resigned from the Union Cabinet, hours ahead of voting in the Lower House on the two earlier Bills on September 17.

On the benefits of major labour codes to workers, Gangwar said that these reforms would help workers become self-reliant in coming days. He stated that in addition to promoting unprecedented labour welfare and gender equality these labour codes would also help increase ease-of-doing business adding that industry and workers complement each other and therefore they have to work together in tandem with changing times.

He emphasised that these reforms are pathbreaking and game changers as some of the archaic laws awaiting reforms have been in existence for more than 73 years. Besides the code on wages which was enacted last year, three more major codes – Code on social security, code on industrial relations and code on occupational safety health and working conditions, taxation bills, homeopathy bills – were passed by Parliament and enacted recently.

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