National

MSP has remained, and will remain: PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the farmers of Madhya Pradesh, in New Delhi, on December 18, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday made a strong pitch to farmers, advocating the benefits of the agricultural reforms initiated by his government and called out Opposition parties for “shooting from the shoulders of farmers” in first pushing the reforms in their poll manifestos and now opposing them for the sake of opposition.

He was addressing farmers at a function organised by the Madhya Pradesh government to release crop loss compensation to those who had incurred losses due to hailstorms.

 

Significantly, Mr. Modi said his government was more than ready to continue dialogue with farmers groups on any doubts they may have on the laws. “This is not the last time I will speak on this subject; on respected Vajpayee ji birth anniversary in December 25, when we will release the next tranche of Kisan Samman Nidhi payments, we will speak again. My government is ready, with bowed heads and folded hands, to answer any doubt on these important reforms,” he stated.

Mr. Modi proceeded to give a point-by-point rebuttal of all the objections raised by agitating farmers groups and Opposition parties. “These are reforms that have been thought about by many governments in the past, discussed across a wide section of people, and finally implemented by our government,” he said.

‘Take the credit’

He accused Opposition parties of opposing the three farm laws just because it was the Modi-led government that had initiated them. “These parties have for years advocated these reforms in their poll manifestos, in letters written when in government, but now they are opposing the same reforms when our government has taken the initiative. Their fear is that Modi will take the credit of these reforms. I say to them, take the credit, I’m only interested in the betterment of farmers,” he said.

 

His most scathing attack was on various loan waiver schemes promised by successive Congress governments, especially before the Assembly polls Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. “How many farmers received these loan waivers. What were the excuses? We found instead that small farmers were sent bank notices and arrest warrants. Only big farmers who are relatives of leaders of these political parties and their cronies have benefitted,” he stated.

“Against the ₹50,000 crore that the previous governments spent on loan waivers in their 10 years, the NDA government is spending ₹ 75,000 crore a year via the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi [direct cash transfer scheme],” he said. “The biggest proof of the ill intentions of previous governments towards farmers is that the Swaminathan Committee report on reforms was buried by the last government.”

Mr. Modi said, “Our government not only implemented the Swaminathan committee report but also resolved the chronic urea shortage faced by farmers. Also, new fertilizer plants will be coming up in Gorakhpur, Barauni, Sidri, Talcher and Ramagundam, which will make urea abundantly available and these plants will also give employment to thousands,” he said. He also talked of crop diversification and programmes of animal husbandry started by his government.

“I’m mentioning all these things to demonstrate that we have thought deeply and effectively about providing lasting solutions afflicting India’s agriculture and to rebut the baseless fears being spread by our Opposition,” he stressed.

The Prime Minister rattled off figures on minimum support prices (MSP) on various crops paid by previous governments and his own to show how the latter had enhanced it progressively through the years. “MSP has remained, and will remain. It is a myth being spread that MSP will be discontinued,” he said. “The three farm laws have been in place for the last six months and not only has MSP been paid but procurement has also been done at record levels,” he claimed, citing figures for the same. “If we had to remove MSP, why would we have implemented the Swaminathan Committee report,” he asked.

‘No dismantling of APMCs’

Mr. Modi asserted that there was no move to dismantle the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMC) or ‘mandis’ under the new laws. “Not a single mandi has been shut down in the last six months that the laws have been in place,” he said. “The laws free farmers to sell their produce to whom they feel like, and this includes the ‘mandis’. For the last 70 years, we tied the farmer to the ‘mandi’ and these laws are an expiration of the sin of having chained the farmer,” he said.

On farming agreements too, he stated that those would be as before and only pertained to the crop and not the land. “In grievance redressal too, the scales are in favour of farmer rather than the contractor,” he observed.

He appealed to farmers to not fall prey to rumours and asked them to trust the government’s “Neeti, niyat aur nishtha” [policy, intention and sincerity].

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 10:48:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/msp-has-remained-and-will-remain-pm/article33364807.ece

Next Story