New Delhi: Claiming that protests over farm laws have been limited to only ‘one state’ and farmers are being ‘instigated, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Friday said that farmer unions, Opposition parties have failed to point out a single flaw in three new farm laws.
Responding to the discussion held in the Rajya Sabha on the farm laws, he said that the Government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been committed to the welfare of farmers. “We have not made it a prestige issue. We have been asking what is black in this law and no one is forthcoming,” Mr Tomar said, reiterating the Centre’s stand.
The Minister’s remark of ‘one state’ was referred to the protest led by farmers mainly from Punjab, a Congress-ruled state, as he countered the opposition’s allegation that farmers across the country are agitated over the three new laws.
He also said that the Government has brought Trade Act, a provision was made that areas outside APMC will be trade area, can be a farmer’s home also and that will not attract any tax. Within APMC, States levy tax. The Centre’s act abolishes the tax outside APMC where State forces you to pay tax, he added.
“I want to ask Punjab farmers, we have freed the tax system, so you should revolt against someone who is taxing you or who is abolishing the tax system. I want to request the farmers, we are committed to farmers, we have respected them, called them and spoke to them 11 times”, Mr Tomer said while responding to the Opposition Benches.
He also said that he had never used any objectionable word against them and have asked them about the objectionable part of the law. ‘We have also assured them that APMC will not be abolished, ready for amendment but that should not mean that there were faults in the laws’, he added.
Claiming that the farmers were being misled that this law will take away their land, the Agriculture Minister said assuring that there was not a single provision in contract farming law that said this.
Hitting at the Opposition, the Minister further said that only Congress can do farming by blood, not BJP. There has not a single provision in these laws that any trader will be able to snatch their land, he added.
However, the Congress members objected and a heated exchange of words held between Deepinder Hooda and Mr Tomar when he said that the Punjab and Haryana government have enacted contract farming Acts.
Talking about the PM Kisaan Yojana he said that when launched, it was envisaged for 14.5 crore farmers with Rs75,000 crore allocation and additional funds will also be allocated when more farmers would be registered in the scheme.
Elaborating the various measures taken for the welfare of the farmers, The Minister said that around one lakh 15 thousand crore has been provided to farmers through DBT.
Mr Tomar also said that the investment in farming sector should reach the farmers. Cold storage facilities are sometimes 80 km from the selling point. The Government is trying to reduce this gap and farmers can use warehouse facilities, he said, adding that now the railways has being used today and now the Tripura’s pineapple reaching other parts of the country.
“I want to thank the Opposition that they discuss the three farm laws and even called them the black laws, I have been asking the farmers unions how are these laws black laws? then I will try to correct it. How are the laws against farmers, no one was able to explain me”, the Minister said.
‘We have tried to double farmers income and these farm laws a step ahead in this direction and will gong to increase the income of farmers’, he said and ended his speech.