Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday took on critics of his government’s farm-liberalisation plan, a day after the Lower House passed two of the three farm bills, accusing detractors of spreading “misinformation and lies”, while reassuring farmers the reforms were in their best interests.
Modi called the reforms a “protective shield” around farmers, which would bring “more options and opportunities”. His comments, made in a video address dedicating a railway bridge in Bihar and also on microblogging site Twitter, came after Lok Sabha passed by a majority voice vote the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020. On Tuesday, the Lower House passed a third legislation, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020.
Modi addressed concerns about prices and the country’s procurement system, under which the government buys farm produce at federally-fixed minimum support prices (MSP) from farmers. There’s disinformation that the government would withdraw benefits of support prices, he said. The Prime Minister said the country’s procurement system will continue to run as usual.