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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

NCP supremo Sharad Pawar’s double speak on farm laws

NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s U-turn on the farm laws was exposed when a two-page letter written by him in the year 2010 as well as his autobiography was brought into the public sphere once again yesterday.

A press conference held in this regard by ex-CM of Maharashtra and current Leader of Opposition (LoP) Devendra Fadnavis exposed the doublespeak of both the Congress and Sharad Pawar. While the Congress election manifesto had explicitly mentioned the very same agricultural reforms that have been brought into effect by the Narendra Modi led government today.

Sharad Pawar’s u-turn and hypocrisy have also been thoroughly exposed as the letter written by him make it clear that he himself had recommended the abolishment of the APMC market Act and eliminating the middlemen so that the farmers are free to sell their produce to the buyer who will pay him the highest price. Further in his letter, he points out that the farmer spends about 17% on overheads such as transportation, labor charges for loading and unloading his produce, and other such expenses when he takes his produce to the APMC markets. Additionally, up to 30% wastage is incurred of the produce due to lack of proper agricultural infrastructure.

Stating that every year close to 51 thousand crore rupees loss is incurred in this manner, he questioned the need for compelling farmers to sell their produce in APMC (Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee) markets only. Why are the farmers being subjected to such restrictions? It is wrong to place such restrictions on agricultural produce alone when manufacturers of other products can freely sell their products wherever they want and to whomsoever, they wish to sell.

It is the duty of the government to ensure that the farmers get the right price for their products and hence the APMC markets were created. This arrangement has, however, outlived its utility said Pawar. In his letter, Pawar opines that farmers must have complete freedom to sell their products wherever they want including overseas.

So while Pawar recommended state governments to amend the APMC Act during his tenure as the agriculture minister under the UPA government, so as to allow private players to play an important role in the agriculture sector, he has now made a complete u-turn and dissed the same farm laws brought in by the Modi government despite the fact that it would largely benefit the farmers.

Such doublespeak and shameless hypocrisy are certainly not new to politicians. Pawar is one of those opportunistic politicians who always put self-interest before that of the nation and he has proved that on more than one occasion and this time seems to be no different.

If Pawar was indeed bothered about farmer’s welfare then he would support the current agricultural reforms which were proposed by him in the past.

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