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Congress not against private entities playing key role in farming, clarifies Randeep Surjewala

The party now says it is not against private entities getting producers from farmers.

December 16, 2020 / 08:50 PM IST
Surjewala would come as a relief to pro-reform voices. (Representative Image)

Surjewala would come as a relief to pro-reform voices. (Representative Image)

The Congress party which stayed on the side of the farmer's agitation against the recently passed agriculture reform laws has now clarified its stance.

The party has clarified that it was not against private entities getting producers from the farmers.

In a conversation with News18, Randeep Surjewala, a farmer and senior Congress leader said, "Let me reiterate that let all industrialists come in, that let all private players come in and buy food grains at MSP.”

Surjewala also pointed out that when a person buys flour from the private sector, “they are themselves buying it from farmers at MSP”.

"Where do you think the flour comes from?" he asked.

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While this confirms that the Congress has no objection to private sector playing a key role in the farming sector, Surjewala also cautioned that for farmers to benefit from the laws, there should be ample competition in the market.

He illustrated this via an example. "A farmer is getting Rs 19 per kg for flour and you buy for say Rs 30 per kg, then who is benefitting? So if there are only one or two buyers then prices may shoot up,” he noted.

While Several Congress leaders have opposed the farm reforms, saying that the new laws would end up benefiting only the corporate sector, this has equally earned the disapproval of experts who have said that the laws protect farmers and MSP would remain intact.

In fact, the government to quell the fears of protesting farmers, have made it clear that such a scenario where a potential advantage is present will not materialise.

It has said the government’s umbrella of protection would remain despite the push for liberalisation.

The Congress party has been criticised for standing against modernisation and reform, the report said.

As of recently, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad read out from the Congress' manifesto for the 2019 general election to note that it had promised "repeal" of the APMC Act.

He also pointed out that Rahul Gandhi had asked Congress-ruled states in 2013 to take measures to allow farmers to sell their produce directly.

Surjewala would come as a relief to pro-reform voices, as the party was recently accused of going too far left.

It has also been put in a contradictory stance by opposing the entry of private players in the farming sector.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Dec 16, 2020 08:48 pm

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