Amid protests, Tomar emphasizes the need for more reforms in the agricultural sector
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Wednesday that he hoped that a solution to the ongoing farmer turmoil would only come from dialogue and that further reforms are needed in the agricultural sector.
Although Tomar did not elaborate, his stance signals the Modi government’s intention of a full spectrum of reforms in the country’s agricultural sector, despite farmers’ rejection of three agricultural reform laws.
“In the last six years, efforts have been made to initiate reforms in the agricultural sector. There are still areas where reforms need to be made and can benefit our fellow farmers, who are the backbone of our country, ”Tomar told members of the NGO Confederation of Rural India (CNRI), an organization that has pledged to support the three recent laws. farmers say it will hurt their livelihoods.
“There are two situations. The majority of the country has supported all three laws. The media have also seen it and (there are) some who oppose the laws. We have received 300,000 signatures from farmers who have accepted the laws, ”he said.
The government’s intention to undertake further reforms in the future is opposed to a massive agitation by farmers against its movement to ease restrictions on agricultural trade.
On the other hand, Tomar told reporters that the government was open to discussing and solving “each and every problem” of the protesting farmers.
“I am hopeful that the farmers’ unions will discuss our proposals. What you want to add and subtract from the government’s proposal, you should tell us. We are ready for a discussion at the date and time that is most convenient for you. I am hopeful of a solution ”, said the minister.
The minister’s remarks came on a day when agricultural unions said they were unwilling to hold further talks with the government until the government drafted a new agenda, deepening a deadlock.
“Through various schemes, we will fill all the gaps in the agricultural sector, which will benefit farmers and ensure they get the right price. We have made reforms such as the plan to have 10,000 agricultural producer organizations at a cost of Rs 6,500 crore and offered an agricultural infrastructure fund of Rs 1 lakh crore for farmers to get the right price, ”said the minister.
Tens of thousands of farmers are protesting the passage of new legislation to open up the agricultural sector to private buyers and allow farmers to sell directly to large corporations in deregulated markets rather than just the government market. Farmers say they will lose business with large buyers and face exploitation.
Analysts say more reforms may generate more resistance. “Reforms in mass employment sectors that involve livelihoods are more difficult to achieve than in industrial or financial sectors,” said KK Kailash of Hyderabad University.