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IMF Says India's Farm Laws 'Have Potential to be Important Step Forward' While Pitching Strong Social Safety Net

File photo of IMF building

File photo of IMF building

There is a need to strengthen the social safety net for those who might be adversely affected by the transition to the new system, Gerry Rice, Director of Communications at IMF, said at a news conference in Washington on Thursday.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) believes the farm bills passed by the Indian government have the potential to represent a significant step forward for agricultural reforms, a spokesperson of the organisation said here. There is, however, a need to strengthen the social safety net for those who might be adversely affected by the transition to the new system, Gerry Rice, Director of Communications at IMF, said at a news conference in Washington on Thursday.

"We believe the farm bills do have the potential to represent a significant step forward for agricultural reforms in India," Rice said. "The measures will enable farmers to directly contract with sellers, allow farmers to retain a greater share of the surplus by reducing the role of middlemen, enhance efficiency and support rural growth," he added.

"However, it is crucial that the social safety net adequately protects those who might be adversely impacted during the transition to this new system," the spokesperson said responding to a question on the ongoing protests by farmers against the laws in the country. This can be done by ensuring that the job market accommodates those that are impacted by the reforms, he said.

"And of course, the growth benefits of these reforms will depend, critically, on the effectiveness and the timing of their implementation, so need to pay attention to those issues as well with the reform," Rice said.

first published:January 15, 2021, 07:09 IST
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