Foreigners without full knowledge of farm laws have no right to comment: Thakur

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New Delhi, Feb 4 (PTI) Hitting out at foreign nationals who have extended their support to the ongoing farmers' agitation, Union minister Anurag Singh Thakur on Thursday said that people without full knowledge of the new farm laws have no right to comment on them.

The Minister of State for Finance was responding to statements of some foreign nationals coming in support of the protests by farmers against the new farm laws.

On Tuesday, pop star Rihanna and environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg, were among those who extended their support to the protests.

'We had discussions with farmers' organisations. We had 11 rounds of discussions. We are still open to discussions but it cannot be hijacked by international organisations and individuals to harm the interest of India.

'People who don't have any idea about what these farm laws are and how these are going to benefit the farmers, they have no right to comment without the full knowledge. No one should take political gain out of this,' he told PTI in an interview.

Allaying fears that Minimum Support Price (MSP) given to farm produce could be gradually withdrawn, the minister said it was there in the past and it will continue in the future.

The government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is farmer-friendly and since 2014, steps have been taken with the objective of doubling farmers' income by 2022.

'We have given more than Rs 1.10 lakh crore under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, more than Rs 70,000 crore-worth claims have been settled... MSP payout and procurement is two-and-half times more than the UPA government, he said.

Highlighting other efforts of the government, he said that the Swaminathan committee report was implemented and it has been ensured that there is no shortage of seeds and fertilizers in the market.

'MSP was there. We have increased the MSP price and it will remain in future also,' he added.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh have been protesting at Delhi's borders for over two months against the farm laws. They have been demanding a rollback of the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

The government has offered some concessions, including keeping the new farm laws on hold for 1-1.5 years and the Supreme Court has set up a panel to look into the matter while keeping the contentious legislation in abeyance for two months. PTI DP CS RAM