Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the farm reform Bills passed in Parliament were ‘historic’ and the road to 21st century India. PM Modi was inaugurating and laying foundation for nine road projects and high-speed optical fiber Internet services worth several thousand crores through video-conference in Bihar.
Earlier agriculture laws had chained farmers and middlemen were taking advantage of the archaic laws, he said. But now, through the reforms, new freedom had been given to the farmers who would have more options to sell their produce. “They can sell their produce either in local mandis [markets] or beyond,” said Mr. Modi.
“Farmers are selling potatoes and their mustard produce at 20-25% higher price in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and other States,” he said.
“Some people are protesting against these reform Bills because control of farmers has slipped away from their hands,” he said. “These people [those opposing the farm Bills] are also misleading farmers on MSP (minimum support price)...but I want to make it clear that MSP will continue to function like earlier time...on MSP our government has done that much of work which has not been done in earlier time,” said Mr. Modi. “These are the same people who kept sitting for years under the recommendations of the Swaminathan committee on MSP.
“Like in dairy business where people sell their milk while having ownership of the cattle, farmers too after the new farm laws will only sell their produce, not lose ownership of their lands and farms... Over 85% of the farmers are marginal farmers and through these new farm laws, their income will increase,” he said.
Mr. Modi reiterated that the farm laws were in the interest of the farmers. They were not against the krishi mandis (local agricultural markets). “The krishi mandis will continue to work like before. Rather, computerisation of the offices of krishi mandis is being done.”
“These roads and high-speed Internet connectivity will benefit the farmers too and our efforts for the country’s prosperity will continue”, he said.
This was Mr. Modi’s fifth inauguration and foundation-laying programme in poll-bound Bihar. On September 23, he is scheduled to address the sixth and last such function.