Thursday, September 29, 2022

Nagaland BJP defends passing of farm bills

By Our Correspondent Updated: Sep 21, 2020 10:05 pm

Says opposition parties are attempting to ‘create and propagate false fears’ among the citizens

Temjen Imna Along

Our Correspondent
Kohima, Sep. 21 (EMN):
Against the backdrop of opposition parties protesting the passing of two farm bills in Rajya Sabha, the president of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Nagaland unit, Temjen Imna Along, has said that the opposition should “not propagate false fears in the minds of the people”.

On Sunday, Rajya Sabha had passed two bills — the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020; and the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 — amid protests from the opposition.

Along, while addressing a press conference in Kohima on Monday, said that the opposition “may put their fears and doubts in the right way” but should not create and propagate “false fears” among the citizens of the country.

He claimed that the opposition parties had these bills in their manifestos but were never able to implement them. But, now ‘they are going completely against’ the BJP-led government in Delhi for passing these bills, he added.

Along said that the bills, including the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which had been passed five days earlier, were “historic and very pertinent” to the success of the farming community in the country.

There were “many propaganda and lies” that have been spread by the opposition parties, according to Along. He said the government of India has ensured that the three bills have been passed “out of immense strength to empower the farmers of this nation”.

‘Even though we are a small state, we do look forward to the day when our farmers will do well,’ he said.

‘These bills are giving farmers access beyond the mandis (market places). Unlike earlier, where mandis used to buy the farmers’ produces, the Ministry of Agriculture will now fix the price beforehand. In this way, farmers can decide whether to sell their produce in the mandis or outside the market place,’ Along said.

On doubts over the Minimum Price Support (MSP), he said that it will continue in the exact manner as earlier. The MSP for rabi crops will be declared in the next week, he added.

‘It has not been removed. It is just that the farmers are given the opportunity to reach out to the markets that are beyond the mandis,’ he said.

According to Along, the MSP is doing well in Nagaland as well as in other hilly tribal areas. In Nagaland, the MSP is taken care of by Duda and Marcofed, he informed.

Nagaland currently has 77 centres and the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs had asked the department of Tribal Affairs to launch 100 centres in Nagaland for MSP, said Along.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, as the name suggests, will safeguard and protect farmers, he said.

‘For contractual agreement on agriculture rights of the farmers, they will have complete freedom on contract. They will fix the price and sell the produce as per their own wishes and will receive the payment within three days maximum. There will be no requirement to run after the businessmen once the contract is made. The buyer will be able to take the produce from the farm itself,’ Along said.

Further, there will be no Court hassles as the disputes will be settled at the local level, he added.

‘Unfortunately in Nagaland, farming economy is almost non-existent. In the days to come small states like Nagaland can also envision producing cash crops and get market connectivity. One of the biggest problems of the farmers in the state is that they produce cash crops but do not have place to sell them. It is the middleman and other states who take all the benefits because we did not place an organised system,’ he pointed out.

Along also stressed on the importance of creating awareness and educating the farmers on various policies and schemes of the government.

‘They need to be educated on the policies of the government, so they may be able to partake in those benefits and start to form groups and set up their own system in line with the government and enjoy the benefits of being paid in a better way,’ he maintained.

In the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, one of the main provisions is to remove grains, pulses, oilseeds, onion, potato etc., from the list of essential commodities. This, he pointed out, has been done so as to empower the farmers and provide more space for venturing out into cultivating different crops.

‘It will enhance the farmers, equipd themselves more powerfully in reaching out to the consumers and reaching out to the multinational companies. Farmers’ products can be sold not only in the state but also intra-state and beyond the country,’ he added.

Along went on to state that the Nagaland unit of BJP endorses the bills passed in toto and congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Agriculture minister ‘for successfully envisioning the future strength of the country in the sector of farming’. The BJP also will be conducting awareness programme on Atma Nirbhar Bharat schemes where all policies of the government will be disseminated at all the levels in the state, he informed.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Sep 21, 2020 10:05:40 pm