File Photo
File Photo

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Sunday reacted to the statements on farmers' protests made by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar a day ago. In reacting to Pawar's claims, the union minister said that the NCP chief appears to have had "expertise" on the issue, so it was a bit "dismaying" to see his "ignorance and misinformation"-laden tweets on the agricultural reforms.

In a series of tweets, Tomar 'fact-checked' the claims made by Sharad Pawar, and provided the 'correct' interpretations of the agri laws, as put forward by the Government of India. The minister pointed out that Pawar had himself been in favour of similar agricultural reforms earlier and had worked for the same.

He hoped that the NCP chief would change his stance in light of "the right facts".

For the uninitiated, Sharad Pawar, who had been the Union Agriculture Minister for ten years in the Manmohan Singh government, had on Saturday posted a critique of the new farm laws against which farmers have been protesting at different borders of Delhi for over two months.

Pawar had claimed that the Centre's new agriculture laws will adversely impact the Minimum Support Price (MSP) procurement and weaken the 'mandi' system, among other things.

In countering the NCP chief's claims, Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar today said that the new laws facilitate promotion of additional choice channel for farmers with choice to sell their produce to anyone, anywhere with hassle free movement in and outside the state. This has been done so that farmers can realise competitive and better net price for their produce, he said, adding that this doesn’t affect the current MSP system.

During the all party-meeting on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated that the proposal of government given to farmers on January 22 still stands and should be communicated to all by the leaders of the political parties.

PM Modi has also said that Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar was just a phone call away for protestors.

On January 22, during the 11th round of talks with protesting farmers, the government proposed to suspend the new legislations for one-and-a-half years and also proposed to set up a joint committee to discuss the Acts.

The tension between the government and farmers protesting the farm laws has escalated after the violence which broke out in various parts of the national capital during the farmers' tractor rally on Republic Day.

On Republic Day, protestors did not follow the prearranged route and broke barricades to enter Delhi, clashed with police and vandalised property in several parts of the national capital during the farmers' tractor rally organised to protest against the Centre's three new farm laws. They also entered the Red Fort and unfurled their flags from its ramparts.

Farmers have been protesting at different borders of the national capital since November 26, 2020, against the farm laws: Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

(With inputs from agencies)

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