Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Saturday reiterated that the Centre was ready to amend the three agriculture laws, PTI reported. Tomar said the Centre was willing to make changes to the law in order to respect the sentiments of protesting farmers. He, however, criticised the Opposition, stating they were politicising the matter at the cost of farmers’ interests.
“There is a place for disagreement in democracy and so is [the case] for opposition and difference of opinion, but should there be any opposition that can harm the nation?” he asked.
Addressing the fifth national convention of Agrivision, an annual event held by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Tomar, however, held that the government’s proposal to amend the laws did not mean there were flaws in the legislations, the Hindustan Times reported. The minister had made a similar statement in the Rajya Sabha last month. He asserted that it was the Centre’s priority to upheld the farmers’ respect and so it was ready to make the amendments.
Tomar also claimed that the Opposition parties and farmers’ unions have not been able to point out any faults in the laws, PTI reported.
“Everyone is free to have any political view in democracy,” Tomar said. “But the new generation must think, should there be any politics by sacrificing farmers or by hurting farmers’ interest or at the cost of the agriculture economy.”
Tomar repeated Centre’s stance that the laws will boost investments in the agriculture sector and give freedom to farmers to sell their produce wherever they wanted.
The talks between farmers and the Centre have been in the state of stalemate since the eleventh round of meeting on January 22. In that meeting, the Centre had asked the farmer bodies to consider its proposal on the temporary suspension of the implementation of the farm laws. Prior to that, on January 20, the farmers rejected the Centre’s proposal to suspend implementation of the three agricultural laws for 1.5 years, and stuck to their demand of repealing the laws.
Earlier on January 12, the Supreme Court had stayed the implementation of the three contentious farm laws for two months and asked a four-member committee to submit a report after consulting the stakeholders. One of the committee members, Bhupinder Singh Mann, later recused himself, saying he would always stand with the farmers and Punjab.
Meanwhile on Saturday, the protestors marked the 100 days of their agitation as a “black day” and blocked traffic on the six-lane Kundli-Manesar Palwal Expressway in outskirts of Delhi.