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Government offer on farm laws still stands: PM Narendra Modi


Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday repeated the Government’s offer to suspend the three contested laws and also said that the Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had told the farmers that he is “only a phone call away.” That offer, said the PM, still stands.

Addressing an all-party meeting where almost all opposition party leaders raised the ongoing farmers’ agitation and the urgent need to resolve the issue, the PM said the Government is open for discussion.

“During the 11th round of discussion we had said that the Government is open for discussion. Agriculture Minister had told them he is only a phone call away. He told them whenever you give a call, I am ready for discussion. This still stands good. This is what the Prime Minister said today,” said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi while briefing reporters after the meeting got over in the afternoon.

From the Opposition, Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress, Trinamool Congress’s Sudeep Badypadhyay, Vinayak Rout of the Vinayak Raut, Shiromani Akali Dal’s Balwinder Singh Bhunder, JD(U) R.C.P. Singh attended the meeting. The Opposition leaders raised the issue of the farmers’ agitation with some demanding immediate withdrawal of the farm acts. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi also participated in the meeting held via video-conferencing.

 After the boycott by the opposition of the President’s address to the joint session of Parliament, the Government appealed to the parties to cooperate in smooth functioning of the House.

On his twitter handle, former Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said that issues related to the farmers’ agitation, women’s bill and other important items were discussed. Pawar gave details of his apprehensions on the farm laws.

“Reform is a continuous process and no one would argue against the reforms in the APMCs or the mandi system. A positive argument on the same does not mean that it is done to weaken or demolish the system. But I am concerned. Also, about the amended Essential Commodities Act. According to the Act, the Government will intervene for price control only if rates of horticulture produce are increased by 100 per cent and that of non-perishable items increase by 50 per cent. Stockpiling limits have been removed on foodgrains, pulses, onion, potato, oilseeds etc. It may lead to apprehensions that corporates may purchase commodities at lower rates and stock pile and sell at higher prices to consumers,” said Pawar.


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