President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday gave his assent to three farm bills passed by the Parliament in the recently-concluded monsoon session.
With this, all three bills have now become acts- The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Service Act, 2020.
The three bills were passed by Parliament amid vehement protest by the Opposition parties. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had on Saturday quit the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the farm bills issue.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried to allay the fears of the farmers, saying that the country’s agriculture sector has recently unshackled itself, in a reference to the agriculture reform Bills passed recently by the Parliament.
Stating that the farmers and the farm sector need to be strong to lay a strong foundation of “Atmanirbhar Bharat”, the Prime Minister said, “One who is grounded stays firm even during the biggest storms. During these tough times of corona, our farm sector, our farmers are a living example of this. Even during this crisis, our agricultural sector has again shown its prowess. Our farmers, farm sector, villages, are the foundation of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. If they are strong, the foundation of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ will be strong.”
Farmers have been expressing apprehensions that the Centre’s farm reforms would pave a way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big companies.
“They have the power to sell their fruits or vegetables to anyone, and anywhere. It is this power which is the foundation of their growth, now the same power has been given to farmers across the country. They have got the freedom to sell not only fruits and vegetables but grains, sugarcane, mustard and anything that they grow, they can now sell to anyone and anywhere they like,” PM Modi said at the 69th edition of the ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme.
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the central government has taken steps to ensure that farmers get the right price for their produce.
Speaking at an event in memory of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay, Singh said, “Our government has taken steps to ensure that the farmers get the right price for their produce. I’ve studied the Bills, and I am saying that the farmers will benefit from it. But some people are trying to mislead the farmers.”
He said even the mandi system is going to be maintained.