Seeking to allay concerns of farmers over a new set of laws amid continuing protests by some parties, senior union minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday assured the farm community that the MSP (minimum support price) will not only stay, it will be continuously increased too in coming years.
He also hit out at Congress for the burning of a tractor by protesters from their youth wing, saying, "As a weapon is sacred to soldiers, so is a tractor for farmers and by burning them, they are insulting our farmers.”
The Congress’ youth wing activists on Monday had set a tractor ablaze near India Gate in the national capital, a few hundred metres from the Rashtrapati Bhavan and Parliament, to protest the contentious farm laws.
Talking to a select group of journalists, the Defence Minister said, "Being a farmer’s son myself, I want to make it clear that the Modi government will not do anything that is not in the interest of farmers.”
"I appeal to all farmers’ organisations that if they have any issue please come and talk with us. I have already started talking to farmers organisations to clear misgivings and misconceptions,” he said.
"I want to assure farmers that the MSP will stay and rather it will be continuously raised in coming years," he said.
The new laws have come into effect after the passage of three key farm bills in the recently concluded monsoon session of Parliament.
The government presented these bills as pro-farmers, saying these will ensure that farmers get better prices for their produce and do not get subjected to regulations of 'mandis'.
It has also said that farmers will be now free to sell their produce to anyone and these legislations will increase competition and promote private investment, which will help in the development of farm infrastructure and generate employment.
However, opposition parties have slammed the bills as "anti-farmers", claiming that the agriculture sector will be left to the fate of corporate interests.