By Bijay Kumar Singh :
NITI Aayog Member Ramesh Chand on Sunday said the target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022 will not be fulfilled if the three new farm laws are not implemented immediately, adding that the protesting farm unions should consider the Government’s offer of discussing the legislations clause by clause. In an interview to PTI, Chand further said the blanket ban on genetically modified crops is not the right approach.
The Government and unions representing farmers, who have been camping at Delhi’s border for four months in protest against the three laws that they say will end state procurement of crops at MSP, have held 11 rounds of talks, the last being on January 22. Talks broke down after widespread violence during a tractor rally by protesting farmers on January 26. “I think the way forward can come only from give and take, so if we feel we will stick to whatever we are demanding, then you will find that there will not be any desirable way forward. “The Government has given a bold option to the farmer leaders, the Government is willing to put these farm laws on hold for one-and-a-half years,” the NITI Aayog member (agriculture) said. Chand pointed out that the Government is willing to discuss the three farm laws clause by clause, and farmer leaders should consider this offer.
“There was enough time to think coolly, to think in a balanced manner. Initial reaction could be emotional, initial reaction could be under some pressure, but now I think everybody has thought coolly. “So farmer leaders must come up with their reaction, they must seek change wherever they think this is going against their interest,” he argued. According to Chand, protesting farmers must speak up and open their minds, otherwise their silence will go against them.
“In the society, image is coming that it is becoming political... so they (farmers) must study in detail... they must say ‘look this clause is against us’,” he added. Replying to a question, Chand said any kind of reform is hard in a democracy and in India, it is more difficult because the country has reached a point in politics where the Opposition, be it any party, opposes whatever the ruling party is doing. “So that means whatever you do, good or bad, the die is cast, so this casting of the die must change,” he opined.