Modi talks to farmers during ‘Mann Ki Baat’
The prime minister spoke to farmers about the benefits of his government’s farm bills in his regular address to the nation.
During this weekend’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi touched upon the three farm bills that have stoked so much controversy over the past week and led to his party’s oldest alliance partner breaking away. The farm bills, which have all been signed into law by the president, are being protested across the country by farmers’ union and opposition parties. The Shiromani Akali Dal, National Democratic Alliance oldest member, broke with it saying the bills were passed despite its staunch opposition to it.
PM Modi courted the farmers saying they strengthened the agriculture sector and paved the way for a self-reliant country. The sector was able to show its true strength during the pandemic, he said.
He explained the first of the farm bills – the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020 – which allowed farmers to sell their produce outside government-run mandis or the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees (APMC) will be extremely beneficial to farmers, as has been the case with a large number of them so far. Freed from the restrictions of selling only to licensed dealers in Mandis, farmers will now be able to get the best price for their produce from the free market, he said. Farmers who embrace these innovative practices and new options to sell will see their income increase by leaps, he said.
He said he has interacted with many farmers and groups to learn how new ways to growing and trading in crops has given the sector strength and prosperity. Farmers in Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and many other states have benefitted immensely from this option to sell directly to companies, sometimes even to five-star hotels. This will free them from the clutches of middlemen and they can get more competitive prices for their produce. Earlier much of the cost paid by the end consumer would be eaten up by the middlemen, leaving almost nothing for the farmer who grows the crops.
This is one part of his government’s attempt to reach the masses in order to make them understand that these farm bills are not “anti-farmer” as being accused by the opposition parties. He also touched upon the use of technology in farming and how it can help turn the course of agriculture in the country.
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