Thursday, May 30, 2024

Look at manifesto of Congress, even Punjab Congress, who are they fooling, asks Tomar

Narendra Singh Tomar, the Union agriculture minister, is aghast at the hypocrisy of Opposition in relation to farmers’ bill which now has been passed by both houses of the Parliament.

In a long interview to Indian Express, Tomar said: “If you look at Congress manifesto during Lok Sabha elections, or even the manifesto of the Punjab Congress during the Assembly elections, they said they will abolish the APMC Act. They said that they will ensure that purchase outside APMC happens without any tax, that inter-state trade is promoted…Now, either the Congress should say that we are retracting from what we said in our manifesto, and that now we have a different position,” said the minister.

Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act, broadly, restricts the options of farmers to sell their agri-produce anywhere else than the Mandis. The new farmers’ Acts doesn’t stop farmers from selling in the Mandis. It only empowers them to sell their agri-produce to anyone who could offer them a better price—and there would be no tax on it!

“Besides, APMC has been created through state Acts. It’s up to the state government to make laws for APMCs,” questioned Tomar.

“If you look at any industry, they have the freedom to decide the cost of their product. Till now, the farmer didn’t have this freedom to decide the price of their crops, to sell to a buyer of their choice.”

Minimum Support Price (MSP) is another issue which has been blown out of proportion with the opposition demanding a law should’ve been made on it. Said Tomar:

“We have had recently MSP for rabi crop approved by the Cabinet…we have constantly increased the MSP…earlier only wheat and paddy were bought…now we (government) also purchase oilseeds…

“If the law was necessary for the MSP then why did you not make it?…MSP is an administrative decision…and procurement has been taking place as a result of MSP. The Modi government has started declaring MSP by adding 50 per cent profit to the cost…We declared rabi MSP before sowing of cros and the Kharif crop is due in a few days which will be procured on MSP.

“Besides, MSP HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BILLS! The bill deals with trade outside the mandi premises.”

The new bills also ensure that farmers get the money sold on their agri-produce within three days. Tomar laid out the plan to enforce the rule: “If there is a situation (where payment is not made) we have authorised the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) to undertake an investigation and report within a fixed time.

“The SDM is under the state government…in the courts, the matter will take a long time. The farmer can approach the SD anytime.”

Another issue on which the Opposition painted the town red was why the bills were not referred to a select committee.

Said Tomar: “Bills which are long and complicated are sent to select committee. These farm bills are very small and their provisions are very clear. There was no need to send them to the select committee.

“If there were objections to specific provisions, or if someone’s rights were being snatched, then the select committee would’ve discussed the issues. But there were no such issues…”

Only, if the country could ask these Opposition leaders—those who stood up on desks in Rajya Sabha, assaulted a Marshal, tore up the rules book, broke the mic, did a sit-in overnight in the Parliament and called for a Bharat Bandh, what’s this fuss is all about? But neither this crap Opposition nor the Lutyens Media suffer from a sense of shame. Do they?

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