Old system will continue: PM

New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI): The government and Parliament have great respect for farmers who are voicing their views on the three farm bills, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday, and made it clear that those who want to continue with the old agriculture marketing system can continue doing so.
Replying in Lok Sabha to the discussion on the motion of thanks to the President’s address to the joint sitting of Parliament, Modi staunchly defended the three contentious farms laws and attacked the opposition for “misleading” farmers, saying those who are disrupting the House are doing so as per a “well-planned strategy” as they are unable to digest that people can see the truth. “Through their games, the trust of the people can never be won,” he said, amidst protests by the opposition members.
During his over 90-minute address, the Prime Minister slammed the Congress as “divided and confused party” for its different stands in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on the debate.
Seeking to allay apprehensions on the farm laws, Modi said neither any agriculture ‘mandi’ (market) has shut down after the three laws were enacted nor has the MSP stopped, rather the MSP has only increased which no one can deny.
The Prime Minister also said the government has offered to discuss clause by clause of the three farm laws and if there are any shortcomings it was ready to make changes.
“This House, our government and we all respect farmers who are voicing their views on the farm bills. This is the reason why topmost ministers of the government are constantly talking to them. There is a great respect for farmers.
“After the laws relating to agriculture were passed by Parliament, no ‘mandi’ has shut. Likewise, MSP has remained. Procurement on MSP has remained. These facts can’t be ignored,” he said.
He said the old agriculture marketing system will continue and those who don’t want the new system can continue with the old system. “Our farmer should become self-reliant, he should get freedom to sell his produce. There is a need to work in that direction,” he said, adding agriculture has been a part of India’s culture and the festivals have all been associated with planting and reaping of crops. Noting that the kind of investment farming needs was not happening, Modi said there is a need to bring investment and modernise agriculture to empower the sector.
“I am surprised for the first time a new argument has come –we did not ask, so why did you give. Be it issue of dowry or triple talaq, no one had demanded laws to deal with them, but the laws were made as they were necessary for progressive society,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the NDA government has tried everything to bring changes in the country and asserted that “if the intention is good, then the results will also be good”.

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