Congress has always misled farmers, says Nadda

Says concerns voiced by Akalis on three agri-Ordinances will be addressed

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 16   

Seeking to allay reservations regarding the three agri-Ordinances, BJP president JP Nadda on Wednesday accused the Congress of double standards, slamming it for misleading farmers, whereas it promised to free agricultural trade in its 2019 election manifesto. 

The Parliament is currently replacing the three contentious Ordinances with legislations amid strong objections by Opposition MPs and farmers protests, including in Punjab and Haryana.

A day after Sukhbir Badal, the president of the NDA-ally Akali Dal, told the Lok Sabha that his party was “not consulted” before the three agri-Ordinances were brought and that the party’s representative in the Narendra Modi Cabinet (Food Procession Industries Minister Harsimrat Badal) registered her apprehensions during the meeting, Nadda said they were “talking” with the Punjab-ally to “address their concerns”.

Asserting that MSP will stay within the Mandis now and forever and that APMC Act will also remain, Nadda also maintained that decisions had be taken after consultations.

Notably, during the discussion on the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, on Tuesday Badal claimed the Akali Dal was “not consulted” before the three contentious agri-Ordinances.

Calling the three legislations “revolutionary”, which will change the face of Indian farming sector and the state of the farmers for better, Nadda accused the Congress of misleading people “MSP under ‘mandis’ will remain now and forever.

Farmers who do not want to go to ‘mandis; can sell outside. If they are getting better price outside why would they go for MSP under ‘mandis’ And if they are getting good price in ‘mandis’, they will go there, it will be their choice. MSP is limited to ‘mandis’ and available for limited period,” he said

Responding to the Congress, which has termed the BJP-led Centre's legislations “anti-farmers and pro-hoarders, pro-big traders and pro-corporates,” Nadda accused the Opposition party of adopting dual standards on the issue.

Nadda, who said that only were the legislations “pro-farmers, they will also help them get better price by reducing bottlenecks in markets”.

“The Congress party is opposing the Bill because they know nothing except politics.  The same party de-notified fruits and vegetables out of the APMC in 2014. In their 2019 manifesto they said they will make trade of agriculture produce, including exports, etc, free from all restrictions.

“They said the ESMA act of 1955 belong to the age of control and promised to do away with it. Prime Minister Modi has only implemented what they promised. Today they are opposing the legislations in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha whereas they had promised the same in their manifesto”

Stating that every action and policy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is dedicated towards poor, farmer and the last person in the queue, Nadda said the legislations were dedicated to farmers and giving them choice and freedom to cross barriers.

“Of the Rs 20 lakh crore benefits announced under Armanirbhar Bharat, one lakh crore are only for farmers to help them increase their production and incomes with value additions. They will help farmers increase produce and ensure investment in the agriculture sector.

“When ESMA was enacted in 1955, there was shortage of grains. India used to produce 10 MT wheat, today it is producing more than 100 MT, the production of rice has increased from 25 MT to 110 MT and pulses from 10 MT to 25 MT.

“The agri-reforms will help farmers produce more and facilitate them in trade and commerce. They also help the farmers benefit of selling outside ‘mandis’ and empowering them. All the laws are transparent and competitive and will give information of prices with a framework of market intelligence,” he said   

Nadda also said that farmers will be protected with model agreements for limited periods for produce. The agreements will be in regional language so that farmers can understand. The farmers will also get immediate payments along with benefits of bonus, assured price and variables.

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