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Surrounded by Middlemen, UPA Govt Couldn't Implement Agri Reforms Recommended by Swaminathan Panel: Tomar

Narendra Singh Tomar (Image: Twitter/IANS)

Narendra Singh Tomar (Image: Twitter/IANS)

At an interaction with farmers and representatives of panchayats of poll-bound Bihar, he said the Congress had promised in its election manifesto to do away with the APMC Act but it should now answer why it is spreading 'lies' over the issue.

The Congress-led UPA government could not implement the Swaminathan Commission's recommendations on agriculture reforms as it was surrounded by middlemen, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Tuesday. At an interaction with farmers and representatives of panchayats of poll-bound Bihar, he said the Congress had promised in its election manifesto to do away with the APMC Act but it should now answer why it is spreading "lies" over the issue.

"The prime minister promised to double the income of the farmers after taking the reins. He has worked to provide financial assistance of Rs 10,000 to small farmers," he said. "The prime minister also gave Rs 1 lakh crore for agricultural infrastructure development under the Atmanirbhar Bharat package. An assistance of Rs 10,000 crore has been given for food processing. With this package, new technologies will drive the agriculture sector," Tomar added.

He said these recommendations were made by the Swaminathan Commission. "The UPA government, which was surrounded by middlemen, could not implement these recommendations. PM Modi is implementing these," he said.

He also hit out at the Congress, accusing it of spreading "lies" on the recently-enacted farm laws. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has categorically said that MSP will not be annulled, rather it has been further enhanced, Tomar noted.

"Abolishing the APMC Act was part of the Congress manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Now, the Congress is retreating from its stand. The party should explain why it is spreading lies," he further said. He claimed that even former prime minister Manmohan Singh and then agriculture minister Sharad Pawar had spoken about it a number of times from different platforms.

"Bihar was the first state to open markets for the farmers. Now, with the help of the new farm laws, farmers of the country can sell their produce anywhere, to anyone and according to the price decided by them. They will also not have to pay any tax," the minister said. Bihar had done away with the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act in 2006.

The state's agriculture minister Prem Kumar, who also joined the interaction, said the NDA government was working to make farmers economically strong while the Congress has been trying to "keep them in chains". "Now that we are working in the interest of farmers, the Congress is out to mislead them," Kumar, a senior state BJP leader, said.


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