Udayavni Special

Ex-PM Lal Bahadur Shastri’s grandson extends support to farm laws


PTI, Jan 6, 2021, 7:10 PM IST

New Delhi: The All India Farmers Association (AIFA) headed by former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri’s grandson Sanjay Nath Singh on Wednesday extended support to the three new agriculture laws against which 40 farmers’ unions have been protesting at various borders of the national capital for over a month now.

Singh, in a representation made to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, made some suggestions to the Centre that would be of help in negotiating with the protesting farm unions in the next round of meeting to be held on January 8.

The AIFA recommended setting up of an independent regulatory body to monitor farm contracts, a price regulatory authority to monitor purchase and sale price of farm produce, enforcement of a template of contract agreement among others, he said.
”With these suggestions, we request you Sir (Tomar) to negotiate with farmer leaders to reach an early resolution. We are hopeful of you achieving success and request that the new farm laws are not rolled back,” he said.Stating that the new legislations are a ”watershed moment” for Indian agriculture, Singh said though the minimum support price (MSP) and APMC mandi system are working well in Punjab, Haryana and parts of western Uttar Pradesh, farmers of these States had ”apprehension” about the new laws and the Centre has done its best to ”allay” their fears.

He further said ”it appears that the vested interest and political opportunists are continuing to mislead them.”

Singh also claimed that the new laws are the ”way forward” for Indian agriculture as over decades a ”farm crisis” had evolved due to non-remunerative farming, price manipulations at the APMC mandis by ”vested interests especially at the cost of small and marginalised farmers.”

He further said it was the government’s ”bold decision” to enact these laws which aim to address farmers’ issues and liberate them from the ”exploitative” mandi system and debt traps which led to over 3.34 lakh farmers’ suicides between 1995 to 2016 per the National Crime Records Bureau.

In the meeting, the Agriculture Minister highlighted the benefits of the new agri laws for small and marginal farmers and the steps being taken towards setting up of farmer producer organisations (FPOs) and farm-gate infrastructure with Rs 1 lakh crore financial fund scheme.

Seven rounds of talks between the Centre and the protesting farmers held so far have yielded no concrete results, although the government conceded to two minor farmers’ demands pertaining to power subsidy and stubble burning in the December 30 meeting.

The protesting farmers have threatened to intensify their stir if their main demands – repeal of the three laws and legal backing to the MSP – are not met.

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