Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday defended the Centre’s three contentious farm laws but said his government is ready to talk to farmers if they feel there is any clause in the legislations against their interests.
Stressing that there is a need to fully understand the laws, Singh said an “atmosphere of opposition" is being created and farmers should understand this. Farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at Delhi’s borders since late November in protest against the laws, demanding their withdrawal. Farmer groups have alleged that the laws will end the mandi and MSP procurement systems, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.
Addressing the gathering for a state-level Annapurna programme under the Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana through online mode on Thursday, Singh lauded the Narendra Modi government for taking steps for the welfare of farmers. “Our government brought three farm laws. But I think there is a need to fully understand these laws," said Singh. “Lekin ek virodh ka mahoul bhi paida kiya ja raha hai (But an atmosphere of opposition is being created). I feel that farmer brothers should understand this," he said.
“Confusion" over the minimum support price was also spread, he asserted. “Farmers have started learning the truth and they have started doing calculations of their profit and loss," Rajnath claimed while pointing to benefits of the laws.
“I have studied the farm legislations fully and I can say with confidence that there is no clause as per my information which is against the interest of our farmer brothers," he said. “If anybody feels there is any such clause in these laws which can affect the interest of farmers, I want to say with full confidence that we are ready to sit and hold talks with farmer brothers," the defence minister added.
Listing out the Modi government’s decisions taken for farmers’ welfare, he said the MSP has been raised by one-and-half times and small farmers have been provided with cheaper loans. A sum of over Rs 1.50 lakh crore has been credited to the bank accounts of farmers, he said, adding that it had never happened in the history of the country. “All these steps were taken to empower and strengthen our farmers," he said.
He also talked about the Prime Minister Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, saying Rs 6,000 directly goes into the account of farmers. “There is no possibility of corruption. The whole money reaches your accounts," he stressed while reminding that once former PM Rajiv Gandhi had said that only 16 out of 100 paise reaches people. “We today send 100 paise and the whole amount reaches your accounts. There is no possibility of corruption. What will be more sensitivity towards farmers than this," he asked.
Singh said the Centre and state governments complement each other in a cooperative federal structure. “The Centre may frame many plans but until it gets support from the state government, their successful implementation is not possible. Similarly, the state government may make many plans, if the Centre does not support them, their implementation also becomes difficult," he said.