Monday, February 26, 2024

Hope he will change stand on farm laws: Agriculture minister responds to Sharad Pawar’s criticism

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Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Sunday responded to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar after he posted a critique of new farm laws that have fuelled massive protests over the last two months in the country. Tomar hoped that Pawar “will change his stand” and “explain the benefits of the laws to farmers.” He also said Pawar is such a veteran leader, “I would like to believe that he was genuinely misinformed of the facts.”

“Pawar is considered well-versed with the issues and solutions relating to agriculture. He has himself tried hard to bring the same agriculture reforms earlier,” the agriculture minister said.

Tomar was referring to Pawar’s position as the Union agriculture minister for 10 years in prime minister Manmohan Singh-led government.

On Saturday, Pawar had posted six tweets in he said that the new central laws will adversely affect the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and it will also weaken the mandi system. Pawar also said that he is concerned about the amended Essential Commodities Act. “According to the act the Govt will intervene for price control only if rates of horticultural produce are increased by 100% and that of non-perishable items increase by 50%. Stock piling limits have been removed on food grain, pulses, onion, potato, oilseeds etc. It may lead to apprehensions that Corporates may purchase commodities at lower rates and stock pile and sell at higher prices to consumers,” he wrote on Twitter.He further said, “Reform is a continuous process and no one would argue against the reforms in the APMCs or Mandi System, a positive argument on the same does not mean that it is done to weaken or demolish the system.” “During my tenure, the draft APMC Rules – 2007 were framed for the setting up of special markets thereby providing alternate platforms for farmers to market their commodities and utmost care was also taken to strengthen the existing Mandi system,” Pawar also said.

Tends of thousands of farmers have been camping at Delhi’s borders for more than two months now against the new farm laws. They are demanding a repeal of the laws and a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP) for the procurement of their crops. Agitating farmers claim that the new laws will weaken the MSP system, despite the Centre seeking to assure them in vain that the MSP system was here to stay and the new laws would only provide more options for farmers to sell their produce.

The government has held several rounds of talks with the leaders of the farmers but has failed to bring any resolution to the matter so far.

Hope he will change stand on farm laws: Agriculture minister responds to Sharad Pawar's criticism

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