Farm reforms needed, ‘status quo’ doesn’t achieve things: PM ModiFebruary 10, 2021
The government respects “farmers’ sentiments” but reforms in agriculture are necessary for the country’s progress, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, defending laws it enacted in September that have sparked protests by cultivators.
“Status quo cannot change things—the youth of the country cannot wait,” he said in the Lok Sabha while replying to the motion of thanks on the President’s address to Parliament.
Demanding the repeal of three new farm laws that they say will hurt them to the benefit of large corporations and allow the government to discontinue buying food grains at a minimum support price (MSP), tens of thousands of farmers have been camped on the outskirts of Delhi since late 2020.
“This House, our government and we all respect farmers sentiments who are voicing their views on the farm bills. This is the reason why government ministers are constantly talking to them,” he said. “Farm reforms were needed for long. We (government have made an honest effort to do this.”
Modi, while speaking in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, had said the government-mandated support prices for key crops would remain in place. “MSP was there. MSP is there. MSP will remain in the future,” he said.
He coined two terms—”aandolan jeevi” (professional protesters) and “Foreign Destructive Ideology (FDI)”–to attack the Opposition and foreign individuals who have tweeted in support of the farmers’ protests.
International pop star Rihanna on February 2 tweeted a news article about the farmers’ protesters, asking “why aren’t we talking about this”. Swedish environment activist Greta Thunberg and author Meena Harris, niece of U S Vice President Kamala Harris, too tweeted about the protests.
The Indian government issued a press statement to say it was “unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on these protests, and derail them.”