Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Sunday accused opposition parties of running a propaganda against the new farm laws and said these legislations “may cause difficulty for some in the short term” but will help farmers in the long run. Tomar, who is leading negotiations with protesting farmers’ unions to break the deadlock over the laws, was addressing a delegation of more than 100 farmers from Uttarakhand who extended their support to the laws.
Tomar said the government faced opposition when it revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. It also faced opposition when it brought the amended citizenship law as well as over the Ram Temple issue. “When the agricultural reforms were brought, there was opposition to this too… There are some people who just oppose and weaken the country. This has become their nature,” the agriculture minister said.
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The minister said that discussion has been going on for many years on agricultural sector reforms. “Unfortunately, the previous governments who wanted to reform were not able to it. Since they could not try, they did get the credit,” he added. “Manmohan Singh Ji (former prime minister) tried many times but could not do. Today when it is implemented, propaganda is being spread,” Tomar said.
Tomar stressed reforms are necessary for a new India. “When reforms are undertaken it will benefit farmers in the long run. But in the short run, some may face difficulty. We know we can achieve no gain without difficulties,” the minister said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi doesn’t bring reform or schemes for the sake of current impact alone but for long-term benefit, Tomar said. The Prime Minister, Tomar said, has fulfilled the long-pending demand of farmers. “Any good government or good leader is one who does such work that not only ensures the country’s safety for now but also boosts growth in the next hundred years,” he said.
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Tomar, along with minister of state for commerce and industry Som Parkash, met Union home minister Amit Shah earlier in the day as the deadlock between the central government and protesting farmers on the three new farm laws continued for the 18th day and threatened to block the Delhi-Jaipur highway. The Delhi-Jaipur highway was partially opened post 2pm after it was blocked as farmers began a march from Shahjahanpur of Alwar district on the Rajasthan-Haryana border as part of their protests. Police in Haryana did not allow them to march to the national capital resulting in the highway blockade.
Farmers’ unions, particularly in Punjab and Haryana, say that the new laws will lead to the dismantling of the MSP system under which government agencies buy their crop at an assured price. The Centre, in its proposal to farmers on Wednesday, had said it will give a written assurance that the MSP system will remain and also redress their other key concerns. The unions, however, are demanding complete rollback of the central laws and have threatened to intensify their agitation.