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Narendra Modi slams Opposition for ‘supporting’ middlemen

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Sunday attacked the Opposition which he said was advocating the interests of middlemen and peddling “lies” about his government’s efforts to introduce lasting reforms in agriculture and rural development.

He was speaking at a programme to launch the physical distribution of property cards under the ‘SVAMITVA’ (ownership) scheme via videoconferencing. The scheme uses drone and satellite technology to map physical assets in rural areas and aims at digitisation of property records, easing the way for village dwellers to access institutionalised credit against property. Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh Yogi Adityanath and Shivraj Singh Chouhan were present via video link during the programme which saw Mr. Modi interact with beneficiaries.

Stating that government had done more for villages and its residents in the last six years than what was done in the six decades before that, he referred to a number of projects, including opening of bank accounts, building of toilets and houses, cooking gas scheme and electrification.

“Rural India was left to fend for itself by those who ruled the country earlier, I cannot do that,” Mr. Modi said.

“Many people don't want villages, poor, farmers and labourers to be aatmanirbhar’,” he said, adding that his government's measures to empower them, including by directly transferring to farmers and others, had hit the Opposition hard by cutting off their source of illegitimate earning.

Without naming the Opposition, he said it was upset not for farmers but for themselves as it was for long strengthened by the power of middlemen, brokers and commission agents.

The Congress and the BJP’s own former ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal has been opposing the farm laws enacted by the government last month.

Parliament had passed The Farmers 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.

“Those who looted the country are being recognised by people. That is why they are indulging in opposition, bad-mouthing (government) and using foul language. They are not bothered about the poor, villages or the country. They are troubled by all the good work. They want to stop the development march of the country,” Mr. Modi said.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 9:30:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pm-attacks-rivals-for-opposing-agri-reforms-says-middlemen-powered-their-politics/article32826347.ece

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