The farm laws passed by the Indian government have the “potential to represent a significant step forward” for agricultural reforms, said International Monetary Fund’s director of communications on Thursday, PTI reported. Gerry Rice, however, added that a lot will depend on the timing of the implementation of these laws.

“The news laws will enable farmers to directly contract with sellers, allow farmers to retain a greater share of the surplus by reducing the role of middlemen, enhance efficiency and support rural growth,” Rice said at a press conference in Washington.

The international body’s communications director said that those who might be adversely affected should be accommodated in the job market. “It is crucial that the social safety net adequately protects those who might be adversely impacted during the transition to this new system,” Rice said.

Rice added that the government needed to pay attention to the timing and the way the laws will be implemented. “...Of course, the growth benefits of these reforms will depend, critically, on the effectiveness and the timing of their implementation, so need to pay attention to those issues as well with the reform,” he said.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court had put a hold on the implementation of the laws until further orders and formed a committee to resolve the deadlock between the Centre and farmers’ union. However, farmers have refused to appear before the panel, saying that all the members have supported the laws in the past.

The IMF executive’s comments came at a time when Union ministers and farmers are all set to meet for the ninth time to resolve the deadlock over the three contentious laws. Ahead of the talks, farmers said they don’t have much hope for a positive outcome. Eight rounds of talks with the government have so far failed to end the deadlock.

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Farmers have completed over 50 days of continuous protest on the borders of Delhi, demanding repeal of legislations and a legal guarantee that all farm produce would be sold at minimum support prices. The farmers believe that the new laws undermine their livelihood and open the path to the corporatisation of the agricultural sector.

The government, on the other hand, maintains that the new laws will give farmers more options in selling their produce, lead to better pricing, and free them from unfair monopolies. The law passed in September are meant to overhaul antiquated procurement procedures and open up the market, the government has claimed.