Some forces trying to stop development of agri sector: Bhupender Yadav

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New Delhi, Feb 12,(PTI) Some 'forces' are trying to create hurdles and repeatedly stop efforts to develop rural and agriculture sector in India, BJP general secretary Bhupender Yadav said on Friday, terming the farm laws as the 'biggest' issue in the country.

'Currently, the farm laws are the biggest issue in the country and there are some people who want to create 'confusion' over them,' Yadav said, interacting with lawyers at the Delhi BJP office on the recently announced Union budget.

He reiterated that the farm laws do not do away with Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs) or there is any threat to farmers' land due to it.

'We have clearly said it several times that the agreement for contract farming will be only for the crop on the fields of the farmers. The government has cleared it repeatedly, but today when the country is marking a forward march and we want to develop our rural sector and agriculture, then some forces are trying to stop it again and again,' he said.

Citing an example, the BJP Rajya Sabha MP said 'a lawyer does not get involved in a crime if he is advocating his case.

He said three things -- agriculture production by farmers, opportunities for value addition, and storage capacity for unsold produce -- are needed to develop the agriculture sector and bring investment into it.

'There is no lack of farming, agricultural diversification and horticulture in this country. We can promote investment in agriculture sector if these three things - production, value addition and storage capacity- are there, and improve the lot of our farmers.' Yadav said that he wanted to remind the opponents of three farm laws that in 2010, then prime minister Manmohan singh had formed an agricultural committee that had recommended scrapping APMCs for development of farming sector in the country.

'However, our government has not done away with APMCs. We have provided another avenue to the farmers for selling their produce besides APMCs,' Yadav said.

He also defended the changes in the Essential Commodities Act, saying the country has attained self-reliance in foodgrain production and the farmers need to be freed from restrictions to sell their extra produce.

'The Essential Commodities Act was brought at a time when there was much dependence on the farmers and agriculture. But now we are self-reliant in foodgrain production and our FCI godowns are packed,' Yadav said.

The situation is not the same as it was earlier, and the government has removed the restrictions of the Act that prevent the farmers from selling their produce, he added. PTI VIT CK CK