Published On: Fri, Feb 5th, 2021

Farmers tricked; misunderstandings among a state’s people: Tomar

New Delhi: Lambasting the opposition over the ongoing farmers’ agitation over the three new central farm laws, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Friday told the Rajya Sabha that farmers were “tricked” on the issue and that people of only one state had fallen victims to misunderstanding.

The Minister reiterated that the Modi government was committed to the welfare of farmers across the country

“The farm laws have been dubbed ‘black’. But when I asked in every meeting held with farmers what was ‘black’ about these statutes so that I can fix these, but nobody gave any answer,” he said while participating in the Motion of Thanks on the President’s address to Parliament.

“The world knows that water is used for farming; only the Congress can do farming with blood,” he quipped.

“The three agrarian reform laws is a burning issue today. Opposition leaders have not desisted from cursing the central government. They have called the laws ‘black’….”

The Minister said that the government had enacted law {The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Production and Facilitation) Act, 2020} that provides for an area outside Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) to be declared a ‘trade area’ for agricultural crops.

“It can also be a farmer’s home or farm. If there is trade outside APMC, then there will be no tax of any kind. The state government levies tax within the APMC, while the central government has abolished the tax outside it,” he pointed out.

He questioned as to who all should the agitation launched against in such a case — those levying tax or those making it tax-free. “But things are moving in the wrong direction in the country. There is a movement against no tax,” Tomar said.

The Minister reiterated that the Modi government was committed to the welfare of farmers across the country.

“We have continuously tried to accord respect to the farmers’ protest. We held talks with them 12 times after sending out invitations with due respect. We have not spoken anything wrong about them. We have only asked them to point out anything amiss in the laws. We have tried to redress their grievances in tune with their feelings,” Tomar said.

He said that the Centre had even proposed to farmer leaders that the government was ready to make amendments to the laws. “However, it does not mean that there are shortcomings in the laws. People of an entire state are victims of misunderstanding. The farmers have been hoodwinked into believing that these laws will take away their lands. Tell me one provision in contract farming law that allows a company from snatching a farmer’s land,” the Minister said.

The farmers are demanding the repeal of The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Production and Facilitation) Act, 2020; Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.

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