Union Minister Smriti Irani speaking to ANI on Wednesday in New Delhi.
Union Minister Smriti Irani speaking to ANI on Wednesday in New Delhi.

Congress misleading people over farm bills, MSP, APMCs will continue: Smriti Irani

ANI | Updated: Sep 23, 2020 20:11 IST

New Delhi [India], September 23 (ANI): Accusing Congress of trying to mislead people over agriculture bills passed by parliament, Union Minister Smriti Irani on Wednesday said that the legislations give farmers the freedom to sell their produce anywhere and ensure timely payment to them.
Irani, who is Union Textiles and Women and Child Development Minister, told ANI that Minimum Support Price (MSP) will continue and there is no change concerning the functioning of Agricultural Produce Market Committees.
She said NDA government has never gone back on its promises.
"Our bills have three main things. Firstly, a farmer can sell his produce to anyone and anywhere in the country and the farmer will decide the rate. The trader will have to pay the farmer within three days. In the agreement between the trader and farmers, the land of the farmer cannot be mortgaged or sold. In any case, recovery cannot be made from the land," Irani told ANI.
She said the Modi government is committed to implementing the Swaminathan Committee report.
"Congress was in power for 10 years but it did not implement the report. The Modi government implemented the report and provided MSP at 1.5 times (of input cost) to farmers," she said.
The Union Minister said that there is a big difference in MSP of crops during UPA and NDA rule.
"The Agriculture Minister has declared the MSP of crops. We have declared the MSP in Parliament. This is our promise to farmers of the country. The Modi government has announced that we will not touch APMC Act, and mandi and MSP system will continue," Irani said.
"It is clear that the Modi government is committed to farmers' welfare. We have to understand that when the government says something in the Parliament, it is a sovereign promise to people of the nation. We have never gone back on our promises. They are trying to mislead farmers. If you compare MSP rates of rice, paddy and wheat, there is 54-101 per cent hike between NDA and UPA," she added.
Lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the minister said that he has always worked in the national interest and not his political interest in six years of NDA government.
"He has taken several historic decisions like the abrogation of 370, labour and agricultural reforms. In 2014 and 2019, PM Modi promised to people to free things in control of middlemen so that the country can become prosperous and self-reliant. This is a historic step in that direction," she said.
Irani said that more than Rs 90,000 crores were transferred into the accounts of more than 10 crore farmers under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme.
Responding to allegations that big corporations will gain an advantage due to passage of these bills, Irani said it was Congress propaganda which people do not believe.
"This propaganda Congress and Rahul Gandhi have done so much that people have no faith in it," she said.
She accused Congress of double-standards saying they had promised to remove APMC in their 2019 election manifesto.
"BJP promised in Parliament that we are not touching APMC. We are not violating rights of state governments and only freeing farmers from middlemen," she said.
"The bills allow the farmers to trade their produce freely, secure farmers' land and ensure that traders have to mandatorily pay farmers within a maximum three days. Then, why is the Opposition opposing these bills?" she asked.
Parliament passed three agriculture bills in monsoon session aimed at agriculture marketing reforms. The two Houses passed Farmer's Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 have been passed by Parliament.
A bill to amend the Essential Commodities Act was also passed. (ANI)