Farm Bills needed for 21st century India, says Modi as Opposition protests

Derek O Brien of TMC and members of other opposition parties stage a protest over suspension of eight Rajya Sabha members, farmers problems and other issues, during ongoing Monsoon Session of Parliament, in New Delhi | PTI photo
Farming Bills set to become law despite stringent protests by Opposition parties are "historic and necessary", said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.

"I want to make it clear these laws are not against agriculture ‘mandi’; it will continue like it always has. I want to assure every farmer that the Minimum Support Price system will continue as before,” said Modi in a televised speech.

Some people are trying to “mislead and instigate the farmers” as they “feel that control is slipping away from their hands”, he said. "Suddenly, many people have problems with the new laws. Questions were raised what will happen to krishi mandis? Will they close down? This will never happen," he added, referring to local markets for farm produce.

"The new change in the farming sector is the need of the 21st Century and our government has brought this reform for the farmers," he said.

"The laws around produce and yield earlier had tied the hands of farmers. People were taking advantage of farmers -- that's why it was important to bring change in this situation," he said.

Parliament Sunday approved two agriculture bills despite strong criticism from within the ruling party’s own coalition and opposition groups. The legislation seeks to remove restrictions on marketing farm products and allow cultivators to deal directly with private companies to sell their crops.

Rajya Sabha suspended eight lawmakers of Opposition parties for a week for “unruly behavior” that allegedly took place while the house passed the two Bills on Sunday. The House was adjourned on Monday amid uproar by opposition members over suspension the MPs. The proceedings of the House were almost washed out as it could not take up any legislative business.



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