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Government proposal on farm laws’ suspension stands: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said at an all-party meeting of floor leaders in Parliament that the government’s proposal of suspending the implementation of three farm laws, against which farmers unions have been protesting for months, still stood, and that any resolution of the issue “should be found through dialogue” adding “we all have to think about the nation.”

The remarks came after a number of Opposition leaders, including Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress, Trinamool Congress’s Sudeip Bandopadhyaya, Shiv Sena’s Vinayak Raut and Shiromani Akali Dal’s Balwinder Singh Bhunder, spoke about the long agitation by farmers’ unions on Delhi’s borders. Significantly, Janata Dal (U) leader RCP Singh supported the government position on the laws.

“I want to reiterate what [Agriculture Minister) Narendra Singh Tomar told farmers. He said – we’ve not reached a consensus but we are giving you [farmers] the offer and you may go and deliberate. He told farmers that he was just a phone call away,” Mr. Modi is reported to have told the Opposition leaders during the meeting.

On the violence during the tractor rally by farmers’ groups on Republic Day and the siege of the Red Fort, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi quoted Mr. Modi as stating that “law must take its own course” with regard to the incident.

He also condemned in strong words the desecration of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in America, saying that all must reflect on what was being spread about in the country.

Separate discussion sought

Political leaders, however, have insisted on a separate discussion on farmers issues, especially the three laws.

In a meeting held by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Friday, the same demand was kept but leaders were told that they could raise these issues during the debate on the Motion of thanks to the President for his address to both Houses of Parliament set to be initiated after the Budget is tabled.

On Friday, in separate press conferences, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Shiromani Akali Dal leader Sukhbir Singh Badal extended support to the agitation by farmers and Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leaer Rakesh Tikait.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar tweeted that his party had raised the issue of farmers and discussed the women’s reservation Bill as well.

Pawar expresses concern

“New laws will adversely impact the Minimum Support Price (MSP) procurement infrastructure thereby weakening the Mandi system. MSP mechanism has to be ensured and strengthened further,” he tweeted after the meeting. He said he was also concerned about the amended Essential Commodities Act. “Stockpile limits have been removed on good grain, pulses, onion, potato, oil seeds etc. It may lead to apprehensions that corporates may purchase commodities at lower prices, stock pile and later sell at higher prices to consumers,” he said.

Adding that “reforms was a continuous process” he gave details of the reforms to the ‘mandi’ system that he had undertaken as agriculture minister, making it clear that the government would not have it easy on debates on the agriculture laws in Parliament.

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has demanded that the Bill be brought in and its passage through Parliament done during this session. It pointed out that the BJD, in the last General Election, had been the only party to give one third of Lok Sabha ticket to women.

The Prime Minister also pointed out that frequent disruptions of the House were detrimental to smaller parties, which got very limited time to speak in Parliament. He appealed to the larger parties to help run the House.

As per sources, four days have been allotted to debate the Motion of thanks to the President for his address, 26 news bills are to be introduced, including six related to Finance.

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 9:06:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/government-proposal-on-farm-laws-suspension-stands-pm-modi/article33702794.ece

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