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Saturday, August 20, 2022

Hopeful of an early solution to the farm law impasse: Union MoS Kailash Chowdhary

Minister of State for Agriculture, Kailash Chowdhary talking exclusively to IANS said that he was confident that talks between the government and the farmers will resume soon for a negotiated solution to end the present protests over the recently-passed farm laws.

Reiterating that the new laws were beneficial for the farmers, Chowdhary accused the opposition of misleading the farmers and said that the farmers were apprehensive of some provisions, but the government would clarify these for them.

Following are excerpts from the interview:

Q: Why has the government not been able to find any solution to the farmers’ protests till now?

A: We are confident that soon there will be a dialogue between the government and the farmers’ organisations and we will arrive at a solution. We firmly believe that the Opposition is misleading the farmers to gain political mileage and the Centre is making all the efforts to resolve all the misconceptions of the farmers.

Q: Is the government ready to amend the three farm laws? What is the take of the government on MSP and APMC?

A: The prices in the MSP Act are still in the favour of the farmers. We are trying to address the apprehensions of the farmers. The government’s aim is that the farmers should get maximum value for their produce for which we tried to increase competition. Earlier, only traders with licence could purchase in mandis but now everyone can buy. If there is competition, the farmers will get the maximum benefit.

Q: The Opposition has alleged that with these farm laws, the government’s procurement will reduce, therefore, the mandi system will end. What is the government’s take on this?

A: It is the government’s duty to address the apprehensions of the farmers. The misconceptions about the three farm laws have been spread just to gain political mileage. Contract farming is being done in many states but no land has been acquired till now. The laws enacted by the Centre provide all the security to the farmers.

Q: What will be the government’s role between the farmers and corporates?

A: The government takes full responsibility of all the farmers of the country. People who are supporting the agricultural reform laws have outnumbered those who are against them. The entire country is taken into consideration while enacting any law.

In a democracy, the people have given the right to the Parliament to make laws and it is the responsibility of the government to make laws in public interest. Still, we are trying to resolve all the issues amicably. I am hopeful that we will come to a solution soon.

Q: What is the status of the dialogue between the government and the farmers. How long do you think it will take to come to a solution?

A: Another round of dialogue between the government and the farmers will start soon. Both are ready for discussion and we will arrive at a solution soon. When the farmers’ representatives will come forward and take the decision, the deadlock will end. Talks have not yet reached the final stage. I think the farmers’ unions will understand the issue, end the protest and come up for further dialogue.

Q: How do you see the intervention of the court in this matter?

A: We all respect the decision of the court. The court has rightly said that the government and farmers’ organisations should work together to find a common solution through dialogue. The government has also been saying the same thing since day one.

In a democracy, it is everyone’s right to hold peaceful protests but the problems of other citizens should also be considered. You can’t block a city like Delhi for long. We are hopeful that the farmers will give up their insistence on withdrawal of the farm laws and the government is ready to make amendments to address the apprehensions of the farmers.

Q: What message would you like to give to the farmers on behalf of the government?

A: I would like to reiterate the same thing that our Prime Minister has appealed to the farmers that those who have lost their political ground are misleading the farmers about the laws. The Congress and the Opposition who are claiming to be with the farmers today, were sitting on the Swaminathan Commission report for eight years.

The Modi government provided one-and-a-half times more MSP to the farmers. During the Rajasthan elections also, Rahul Gandhi had said that they will waive off loans, but they didn’t do it. The Congress has never thought about the small farmers. The farmers should understand that how can the Prime Minister, who introduced schemes like Kisan Samman Nidhi, go against them.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed.)

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