Thiruvananthapuram: Union minister V Muraleedharan on Saturday slammed the opposition for its "vicious" campaign against the Farm bills and said the Congress and the Left parties were playing with the lives and livelihood of farmers.
The Narendra Modi government ensured a better future to farmers by reforming the agriculture sector and passing two legislations that empower farmers and strengthens supply chains, he told a press conference here.
"The Modi government relieved farmers from the limitations on sale-points and created a framework to ensure assured returns on farm produce. Our government is committed to making agriculture self- reliant and remunerative. We are for an empowered farmer", the Minister of state for External Affairs said.
Rubbishing charges of the ruling LDF and opposition Congress led UDF in Kerala on the Farm bills, the minister said agricultural reforms freed farmers from the shackles of middlemen and vested interests at mandis, eased restrictions on the sale, storage, transport facilities and harvesting of produce.
Describing as "baseless" the "false propaganda" of the Left alliance and their "irresponsible behaviour" in Parliament, he said CPI(M) MPs opposition to reforms was a "stunt" to compete with Congress as the Bills have no impact on farmers in Kerala, where there is no APMC.
The Indian farmer is not influenced by the "gimmicks" of the Congress and the Left, he said, adding farmers have understood the intentions of the reforms and welcomed them.
The opposition's attempt to divert attention by falsely claiming about the "disappearance of MSP" had fallen flat when government announced the new Minimum Support Price, he added.
Muraleedharan also reminded the Congress about the increase in Agriculture budget from Rs 12,000 crore in 2009- 10 to a whopping Rs 1,34,399 crore in 2020-21.
The Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, aims at addressing the price fluctuations of crops and ensures assured price to the farmer from the sponsor even before sowing of crops.
By transferring the risk of market unpredictability from the farmer to the sponsor, the minister said the reform measure acts as insurance and saves farmers from price fluctuations.
Allaying fears of the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, Muraleedharan said farmers would enjoy the freedom of choice of sale and purchase of agri-produce and carry out inter-state or intra-state trade without restrictions.
In addition to mandis, farmers will have the freedom to do trading at farm gate, cold storage, warehouse, processing units and be able to engage in direct marketing, thereby eliminating intermediaries, ensuring full realisation of price, he said.