Thu, 21 Jan 2021

Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) [India], November 30 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday asserted that his government's new agricultural reforms have empowered the farmers and given them new options and legal protection. He said that the benefits of these new laws will be experienced in the coming days.

The prime minister said in his address in Varanasi where he dedicated to the nation the six-lane widened Handia (Prayagraj)-Rajatalab (Varanasi) section of National Highway 19.

"India's agricultural products are famous all over the world. Should not the farmer have access to this big market and higher prices? Shouldn't a farmer get the freedom to sell his produce directly to those who give them better prices and facilities. If someone considers transactions from the old system only, then where has that been stopped?," Prime Minister said.

"Earlier, transactions outside the market were illegal. In such a situation, small farmers used to get cheated. Now the small farmer can also take legal action on every deal that is out of the market," he said.

Farmers are being empowered by giving them options for a bigger market and . Reforms are being done in the interest of farmers, which will give them more options, Modi said.

The Prime Minister was referring to three agriculture acts--The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

He said that the new agricultural laws were brought in for benefit of the farmers. "We will see and experience benefits of these new laws in the coming days," he added.

"The new Farm law doesn't stop anyone who wishes to sell produce according to old system. Earlier, any sale outside Mandi was considered illegal and small farmers were cheated as they were not able to reach Mandi. Farmers now are protected by law against cheating and fraud," PM Modi said.

The Prime Minister said that raising questions on policies and laws made by the government is natural and it is part of democracy"Earlier it used to be that if someone did not like the decision of the government, then it was opposed. But there is a new trend now, we have been seeing for some time that now rumours have become basis for Opposition. Propaganda is spread that although decision is right, it can lead to other consequences, about things that haven't happened or will never happen. Same is with farm laws. These are the same people who have consistently tricked the farmers for decades," he said.

"Earlier MSP used to be declared but very little purchase was done on Minimum Support Price (MSP). For years, farmers were cheated on the name of MSP. Large loan waiver packages were announced in the name of farmers. But they did not reach the small and marginal farmers. Big schemes were announced in the name of farmers. But they themselves believed that out of 1 rupee, only 15 paisa reached the farmer. You have to remember, these are the people who used to raise questions about PM Kisan Samman Nidhi.

"They used to spread the rumor that Rs 2,000 is being given in view of election and after the general election, this money will have to be given back with interest. But, Rs 1 lakh crore has reached the farmers and it continues," he added.

Prime Minister said that the promise made by the government to accept the M S Swaminathan Commission's recommendation has been fulfilled.

"We promised that we would give MSP one and a half times the cost in production as per Swaminathan Commission's recommendation. This promise was not only fulfilled on paper, but has reached the bank accounts of the farmers. In the five years before 2014, pulses of around Rs 600 crores were purchased from the farmer. But in the subsequent five years, we have bought pulses worth about Rs 49,000 crore, which is an increase of about 75 times," he said.

"In the five years prior to 2014, the earlier government had purchased paddy worth 2 lakh crores. But in the subsequent 5 years, we have passed Rs 5 lakh crore as MSP of paddy to the farmers which means that almost two and a half times more money has reached to the farmers," he added.

The Prime Minister also lauded the efforts made by the Uttar Pradesh government and Varanasi administration on agriculture-related infrastructure.

"For the first time, the produce of Varanasi farmers is being exported to foreign countries at a large scale. Varanasi's Langda and Dussehri mangoes are spreading their fragrance in London and the Middle-East...Mango farmers need not go to other cities for packaging now," he said.

"With the establishing of a perishable cargo centre in Varanasi, now farmers here have got a facility to store and sell their produce easily. Due to this storage capacity, for the first time, the produce of farmers here is being exported in large quantities. When connectivity in a region improves it also benefits its farmers. Recently, a fund of Rs one lakh crores was constituted to establish cold storage facilities for farmers and other agriculture infrastructure," he added. (ANI)

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