New Delhi, May 15 (PTI) The BJP on Friday hailed the finance minister's announcement for the agriculture sector, asserting that it is a 'liberation day' for farmers who will now have the 'right to right prices' as it will create an enabling environment for them to get best results for their produce.
Welcoming the decisions announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, BJP president J P Nadda described the proposed amendments to the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, and the APMC Act, among other measures, as 'far-reaching' agricultural reforms and lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for these 'very effective' decisions.
'Today's announcements will hugely benefit farmers and enhance their incomes,' he said.
Senior BJP leaders and Union ministers Prakash Javadekar and Ravi Shankar Prasad lauded the package.
Prasad said all the decisions announced in the last few days as part of the Rs 20 lakh crore special package is aimed at 'rejuvenation' of India during the COVID-19 crisis and have one recurrent theme, which is 'compassion' for the poor and marginalised, farmers and the MSME sector, with an aim to empower them and turn the challenging time into an opportunity.
'Today is liberation day for farmers,' Javadekar told PTI and added that it was a 70-year-old demand of farmers that they should get the choice of whom to sell their produce as they were bound so far to go to a particular agency.
This 'exploitation' will now be over and farmers can sell their produce by their choice, he said.
Announcing the third tranche of an overall package of Rs 20 lakh crore to deal with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sitharaman said foodstuffs, including cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onion, and potato, will be deregulated after the amendment to the six-and-half-decade old Essential Commodities Act.
The government also announced that a new law will be framed to give farmers the option to choose the market where they want to sell their produce by removing inter-state trade barriers and providing e-trading of agriculture produce.
The Essential Commodities Act was promulgated in 1955 when there used to be scarcity of food, which is not the case now.
'We should not tie farmers to unnatural conditions and deprive them of their fair chance to get good price outside or within the country. That will be done.
'They will have the right to right prices as a farmer will not only choose his buyer but also the method. In any industry, nobody monitors sale but it was done in agriculture. It was discouraging,' he said.
Prasad said the announcement made on Friday focuses on creating a resurgent infrastructure for farming, dairy, animal husbandry and fishing.
In an apparent rejection of criticism from some quarters that the central government has not handed over cash to the poor in this time of crisis, he noted that over Rs 52,000 crore has gone into hands of the needy through direct benefit transfer and other digital mode of payments.
Over Rs 1,000 crore was delivered by postmen through Aadhaar-enabled payments to the remotest regions of the country, Prasad said.
Javadekar said the announcements made in the last three days address immediate problems and also correct many wrongs done in the past.
Large sections of the needy population, including farmers, senior citizens and women, have been given cash by the government, he said.
Another BJP leader Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, also a Union minister, said the government has taken one step to meet short-term needs of farmers and has also taken two steps to ensure sustainable agricultural growth and turn it profitable. PTI KR ANB ANB