Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, who was once agriculture minister when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was once in power “wanted to execute reforms in the farm sector, but could not because of outside forces,” agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar was once quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
“Many chief ministers had tried to execute the same farm laws that the Narendra Modi government had brought but could not execute them because of these outside pressures,” Tomar said, according to the agency. He didn’t spell out what sort of outside pressures stopped Singh and Pawar from executing the reforms.
Tomar addressed a farmers’ delegation that pledged reinforce to the three contentious farm laws. “Many commissions, ministers, chief ministers and governments have made an effort to work in the direction of farm sector reform. Throughout the UPA regime Dr Manmohan Singh and Sharad Pawar wanted to execute these reforms. Alternatively, because of some pressure, they couldn’t execute these laws.”
The Union government will hold the sixth round of talks with protesting farm unions on Wednesday, a fresh attempt to get to the bottom of a politically challenging strike by farmers who have encircled the capital and want three recent pro-reform laws scrapped.
“Now our Prime Minister is Narendra Modi. His only mission is development. His only mission is the well-being of people. Any roughly force or pressure cannot pressurise our Prime Minister. When these forces fail, they get frustrated,” the minister said.
“Prime Minister Modi got 303 seats in Lok Sabha on account of your blessings. Can PM Modi make this type of decision that will adversely have an effect on farmers and villagers,” the minister asked.
“The Prime Minister implemented demonetisation. There were elements who used to stand in queue and criticise the government. On GST goods and services and products tax, late Pranab Mukherjee praised the PM. Those forces again came into being and started saying poor things approximately Modiji that his days were numbered. People said the BJP would lose Gujarat, which is a state dominated by industrialists. In Surat, GST had the most have an effect on and by this logic we will have to have missing, people voted for Modi on each seat and for GST,” Tomar said.
“We wish to get to the bottom of this (the protests) by discussion. We respect our annadatas. We can develop into self-reliant only when farmers develop into self-reliant,” he added.
The government’s sixth round of talks with farm unions on Wednesday will make a decision the future class lesson of the ongoing farmers’ agitation againstthe three recent farm-reform laws.
The laws essentially change the way India’s farmers do trade by creating free markets, versus a network of decades-old, government marketplaces, allowing traders to stockpile fundamental commodities for future sales and laying down a national framework for contract farming.
Together, the laws will allow big corporations and global supermarket chains to shop for directly from farmers, bypassing decades-old regulations.
Farmers say the reforms would lead them to vulnerable to exploitation by big corporations and erode the government’s procurement system, whereby the government buys staples, such as wheat and rice, at guaranteed rates, referred to as a minimum reinforce prices (MSP).