Mumbai: Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that the farm bill will revolutionize the lives of farmers as they can sell their products to any buyer, guarantee the price of their crops, go for crop diversification, use of new technology, and reduce their input costs.
In an exclusive interview with ANI, Tomar said that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government has provided freedom to farmers through bills.
He said that the bill would free farmers from the chains of the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC).
“Small farmers can now guarantee their yield while sowing the crop. They can now go for expensive crops, use new technology, new seeds, good pesticides, and reduce input costs. These bills are important. And bring revolutionary changes in the lives of farmers. I want to tell the farmers that when the provisions of these bills come into force, they will change their lives,” he told the ANI news agency.
The minister rejected the opposition’s criticism on the bills and said that the minimum support price (MSP) and the APMC would continue as in the past.
He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has taken many steps in the interest of farmers, but it was felt that till the laws are changed, the farmers will not get enough benefit.
“That’s why the government brought two ordinances and now they have become bills,” he said.
Tomar said that there should be no politics on the issues of farmers. “When we talk about the farmers, there should be no politics on that. There has been a lot of injustice and exploitation with the farmers. The Modi government has provided the freedom to the farmers through these bills,” he said.
The minister said that the farmers will benefit because if there is trade outside the mandis, there will be no tax and they will have the freedom to choose their own path.
“Farmers cultivate and take their produce to mandis (markets). There are 25-30 licensed people in these mandis. They auction the produce. Whatever price is fixed at the auction, the farmer will be at that price. They were obliged to sell their produce. Whether they were happy or not because if they decide to take their products and go home and come back again, they would have to pay additional logistics costs.
The farmers were facing trouble. Our Act allows farmers to sell their products anywhere they wish. APMC has a tax. Under the Bills, there will be no tax by the state government or the central government on trade outside the APMC.
The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Price Assurance and Agricultural Services Bill, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Bill of 2020, were passed by Parliament on Sunday. Protest and uproar by opposition members in the Rajya Sabha during the passage of the Bills.
A third Bill related to agriculture, which amends the Essential Commodities Act, was also passed by Parliament during the monsoon session, which concluded on Wednesday. The three Bills seek to replace ordinances brought by the government earlier.
(With ANI Inputs)