Surprising that farmers doubt Modi govt's intent, Sitharaman tells News18, says MSP has been rising since 2013-14
In an exclusive interview with Network18 group editor Rahul Joshi, Sitharaman reiterated what the government has been saying for long — that it wants farmers to come to the table and air their concerns
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday that she is "surprised" that farmers "doubt" the intent of the when Minimum Support Price (MSP) has been rising up under the Narendra Modi govt.
In an exclusive interview with Network18 group editor Rahul Joshi, Sitharaman also reiterated what the government has been saying for long — that it wants farmers to come to the table and talk about their points of concern.
"The government wants farmers to be at the table and talk it out with the (Union) Agriculture Minister (Narendra Singh Tomar). The prime minister (Narendra Modi) said he is willing to look at the modifications the farmers want. We want farmers to talk about points of concern. Want farmers to specifically highlight what aspects of farm laws are problematic."
Farmers have been agitating against the Centre's three farm laws since the last week of November. Several rounds of talks between the protesting farmers' leaders and representatives of the Central Governwho have failed to break the impasse.
Speaking to CNN-News18, Sitharaman said that the government wants them to point out specific things in the farm laws that concern them.
"Farmers are probably misguided. I want them to talk. I want them to talk on the points of concern. We are willing to concede," she added.
The finance minister had revealed several figures on MSP given to farmers by the Modi government in the current fiscal along with MSP figures of the UPA government during her budget speech on Monday, drawing a loud thumping from the Treasury benches.
Speaking on the Union Budget 2021, the prime minister too had said that the government has focused on increasing the income of farmers in the budget.
"More focus to increase income of farmers. All these decisions shows that village and farmers are in heart of this budget," he had said.
Highlighting how the budget can help farmers, Modi had had said, "Farmers will be able to get loans easily. Provisions have been made to strengthen APMC markets with the help of Agriculture Infrastructure Fund."
The farmers' agitation has been continuing since the last week of November as they have demanded that the three farm laws be scrapped. While the government has said it would delay implementation, it has repeatedly reiterated it wants the farmers to have dialogue and express their concerns clause by clause.
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The panel said it also held meetings with officials of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, the Union Consumer Affairs Department, and the Small Farmers' Agri-Business Consortium
Farmers commence nationwide rail roko agitation; railways, police deploy additional forces near tracks
The agitation, scheduled to end at 4 pm, comes weeks after farmers's unions held a chakka jam on 6 February and a tractor parade to Delhi on 26 January
Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting Budget 2021-22 earlier this month had announced the privatisation of Public Sector Banks as part of disinvestment drive to garner Rs 1.75 lakh crore