In an over hour-long speech, Prime Minister Modi talked about farm laws and the protest around it. Countering opposition, he said that almost every opposition parties have felt the need there should be some reforms in agriculture sector. However, he said, now some parties that advocated for the reforms have made a U-turn.
PM Modi in Rajya Sabha
PM Modi in Rajya Sabha: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday reiterated that the central government was open to dialogue on farm laws and that the agriculture reforms neither touch minimum support price nor are they aimed at finishing state-run mandis. In an over hour-long speech, Prime Minister Modi talked about farm laws and the protest around it. Countering opposition, he said that almost every opposition parties have felt the need there should be some reforms in agriculture sector. However, he said, now some parties that advocated for the reforms have made a U-turn.
He quoted former prime minister Chaudhary Charan Singh to make a point that farm reforms were needed to help small and marginal farmers who account for 68 per cent of total farm community. He also said that even former PM Manmohan Singh had once called for the reforms undertaken now to realise the true potential of agriculture and that the Congress should accept the changes.
Besides these, Prime Minister Modi addressed some other key issues related to MSPs and APMCs.
MSP and APMCs
During his address in Rajya Sabha, Prime Minister Modi assured the country that the MSP will remain in the future and government procurement mandis will be modernised. “MSP was there. MSP is there. MSP will remain in the future. Affordable ration for the poor will continue. Mandis will be modernised,” PM Modi said. He said this year’s budget has provision for strengthening of APMCs. In Budget 2021, the Centre has proposed to create an Agriculture Infrastructure Fund which would be made available to APMCs for augmenting their infrastructure facilities.
PM quotes Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister Modi read out a statement of Manmohan Singh which called for open market for farmers. He said: “Manmohan ji is here, I would read out his quote. Those taking a U-Turn (farm laws) will perhaps agree with him.” He then quoted Singh: “There are other rigidities because of marketing regime set up in 1930s which prevent our farmers from selling their produce where they get highest rate of return. It is our intention to remove all those handicaps which come in the way of India realising its vast potential at one large common market.”
PM hails contribution of Sikhs
Prime Minister Modi said that the country was proud of Sikhs and the language used by some for them will never benefit India. “This country is proud of every Sikh. What have they not done for this country? Whatever respect we give them will always be less. I have been fortunate to spend crucial years of my life in Punjab. Language used by some for them and attempt to mislead them will never benefit nation.”
He said that the country must not forget what happened with Punjab. “It suffered the most during partition. It cried the most during 1984 riots. They became victims of most painful incidents. Innocents were killed in J&K. Business of weapons was carried out in northeast. All this affected the nation,” he said.
Beware of new ‘FDI’
Prime Minister Modi slammed some of the activists seen in almost every protests regarless of the nature of agitations. He said that the country needs to baware of such people who live on agitations run by others. “A new entity has come up in the country- ‘Andolan Jivi’. They can be spotted wherever there is a protest, be it agitation by lawyers, students, or labourers, explicitly or implicitly. They cannot live without ‘andolan’, we have to identify them and protect nation from them.” PM Modi said in Rajya Sabha.
The Prime Minister also took on Congress and TMC leaders for attacking his government on freedom of speech in the country. Reacting to speech by the TMC MP, the PM said: “I was listening to Derek ji, he had chosen good words – Freedom of Speech, Intimidation. When I was listening to him, I was wondering if he is talking about Bengal or the country. He sees all this for 24 hours, so he might have said the same here too.”
#WATCH: Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks about TMC MP Derek O’Brien and Congress MP Partap Singh Bajwa who spoke in Rajya Sabha, ahead of his reply to the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address.
He further said that Bajwa sahab from Congress was also speaking. “He was speaking in such detail that I thought he will reach Emergency (period) shortly and speak on it, he is just one step away from it. But he didn’t go there. Congress disappoints this country a lot, you did that too.”