Terming three contentious farm bills that have triggered protests across the country as “farmers’ friendly”, he said the reforms will help increase their income, and the minimum support price mechanism will continue to be operational.
“As Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committed to ensure better prices to farmers, the MSP will continue to remain in force,” Pradhan told reporters here.
The minister said the MSP of paddy and wheat increased by 150 per cent and 135 per cent respectively after the BJP- led government came to power in 2014.
The MSP of oilseeds and pulses also witnessed “unprecedented growth” under the NDA government, he said.
Targeting the Congres,s Pradhan said, “People who were in power for decades are misguiding farmers… Some people, who have a history of exploiting farmers, want to do so by spreading false information about the agrarian reforms.”
The reforms will empower farmers and make them self- reliant, the minister said.
The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 aims at permitting the sale of agricultural produce outside the mandis regulated by the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMC) constituted by different state legislations.
The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, provides for contract farming.
The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020 deregulates the production, supply, distribution of food items like cereals, pulses, potatoes, onion and edible oilseeds.
President Ram Nath Kovind had given assent to the three farm bills.
“The new legislations are farmers’ friendly and will help increase their income and facilitate them to become agricultural entrepreneurs,” he said.
Calling farmers as “Annadata”, Pradhan said the reforms will pave the way for India to become an agricultural powerhouse.
Odisha’s ruling BJD, however, criticised the Union minister over the MSP issue.
“Whatever he (Pradhan) is saying is not in the bill. There is no mention that the MSP will continue. Had it been mentioned in the bill, nobody would have any doubt,” BJD MLA and former minister P K Deb said.