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Punjab’s chief minister, Amarinder Singh, pledged on Thursday to do “what it takes to save my farmers and my state from these dangerous new laws, whose implementation will cripple the farming sector and also destroy Punjab’s lifeline of agriculture.”
In an op-ed published in the Indian Express, Singh claimed that the bills would leave the “helpless” small farmers at the mercy of “the big sharks” of the market.
The government, meanwhile, insists that the legislation is designed to free the farmers from inter-state barriers, antiquated bureaucracy, and monopolies.
Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that, despite the fears, the government-run procurement of crops will continue. The bill will create “an ecosystem where farmers and traders enjoy the freedom of choice of sale and purchase of farming produce,” he wrote in an op-ed earlier this week.
For decades, the Indian farmer was bound by various constraints and bullied by middlemen. The bills passed by Parliament liberate the farmers from such adversities. These bills will add impetus to the efforts to double income of farmers and ensure greater prosperity for them.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 20, 2020
On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the passing of the bills as a “watershed moment in the history of Indian agriculture.” Addressing a virtual meeting of ruling BJP party leaders on Friday, Modi blasted the opposition for “misleading” farmers.
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