Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday reached out to scientists, professors and senior professionals from farm sector in Congress-ruled Punjab to clear misgivings about new farm laws, saying that the reforms will even benefit “arthiyas” (commission agents).
The minister also asserted that the MSP regime will stay.
Farmers in Punjab and Haryana and other states are protesting against new farm laws which they feel will lead to procurement in the hands of corporates and the end of minimum support price (MSP) regime.
“In Punjab, some people have been spreading lies, fake propaganda and inciting the farmers against the government by calling the new agriculture laws anti-farmers despite knowing the benefits of these laws for farmers to increase their income,” Mr Puri said in a virtual meeting.
Explaining the benefits of the reforms to arthiyas, Mr Puri said the laws will also create new opportunities for them.
Arthiyas can provide better seeds, inputs, knowledge, supply chain assistance apart from their existing roles in mandis, he said in a statement.
“Investments will drive change across the supply chain benefiting all stakeholders to reduce the agriculture wastage which is currently at 30 per cent,” he added.
The minister was interacting with scientists, professors and other senior professionals from the agriculture sector from Taran Taran and Amritsar in Punjab.
During his interaction, Mr Puri also noted that there has been an increase in procurement of grains at MSP in Punjab.
Punjab registered an unprecedented increase in kharif paddy procurement that has increased to 26.1 lakh tonne till October 11 of the ongoing kharif marketing season from 7.4 lakh tonne in the year-ago period, he said.
Across India, total kharif paddy procurement rose 35 per cent to 42.5 lakh tonne from 31.7 lakh tonne in the said period, he said adding that the government has increased by nearly 30 per cent the number of procurement centers from 30,549 in 2019-20 to 39,130 this year.
Paddy procurement commenced in Punjab and Haryana from September 26 due to early arrival of the crop, while in other states it began from October 1.
The minister also outlined important steps, including the launch of PM-KISAN scheme, taken by the NDA government in the last six years for the benefit of farmers.