New Delhi, Sep 22 (IANS) Amid the opposition’s objection and widespread protests of farmers in various states over two farm Bills passed by both the Houses of Parliament last week, Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar requested the farmers “not to fall into the trap of Congress”, asserting that “MSP will continue”.
The minister accused the Congress of double standards, saying “the party has two different teeth — one to eat and other to show”.
“Congress party gives different versions when it speaks in Parliament and when it goes in the public,” the minister said while speaking in the House. Noting farmers’ protest in various states against the government Bills, the minister said “they are not farmers”. “The people who are protesting (against the farm bills) are Congress-inspired people. The whole country knows it.”
Citing his statement while passing the two farm Bills in the Lok Sabha on September 17, he said these reforms will undoubtedly help in increasing farm growth rate and improve farmers’ income. He further addressed the farmers of the country “not to get into the trap of the Congress party”. The minister accused the Congress of spreading rumours against the government, saying “Minimum Support Price (MSP) was not part of the Act at the time of Congress too”.
The minister asserted that “MSP will continue”. He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also assured that MSP will continue. “You (farmers) have seen that the government has declared the MSP before the Rabi crop sowing. It shows the determination of the Modi government towards MSP. The whole country knows how the Congress government rejected Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations for the agricultural sector,” said the minister, adding the Modi government accepted the report and in 2018 increased the MSP at 1.5 times the production cost, which is the chief determinant of MSP after the recommendation of the National Commission of Farmers 2006.
The minister later accused the Congress of not doing the reform due to pressure from the brokers even though the party’s manifesto mentions the issue. Tomar said when the Congress failed to implement the reform for the welfare of the farmers and the Modi government managed to do it, they are now scared of losing farmers’ support and spreading such rumours.
Tomar’s statement came when Congress led opposition created pandemonium in the lower House asking the government to withdraw these Bills calling them “anti-farmer”. The House was adjourned for an hour over the issue when it assembled at 3 p.m. The opposition raised the issue again when the House reassembled and staged a walkout. The two controversial bills — the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 — passed by both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, will now go to the President for his assent before they are notified as laws.
The other controversial farm Bill — Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 is yet to be taken up in Rajya Sabha. Thousands of farmers in Punjab, Haryana and several other states have been staging protests since the government introduced these Bills in the Lok Sabha on the opening day of the Monsoon Session on September 14 to replace the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020 promulgated on June 5.
Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal of the Akali Dal resigned from the Modi government, hours ahead of the voting in the lower House on the two Bills on September 17.