18:45 GMT28 October 2020
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    Despite protests by Congress and other opposition parties, the Indian Parliament last week passed the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce Bill, 2020 and the Farmers Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020. The bills seek to reform Indian agriculture, and are facing criticism by Congress and other opposition parties.

    Tearing into the Congress-led opposition's protest against the farm reform bills, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the process of big bang reforms will continue unabated.

    The Congress Party has been a fierce supporter of farmers protesting in different parts of the country, mainly in the states of Punjab and Haryana for the last few days.

    Without naming names, but overtly referring to the Gandhi family, Modi took a jibe at them, saying four generations of a family that earlier governed the country have now become "irrelevant" and are protesting for the sake of protesting.

    ​Speaking at an event on Tuesday, Modi strongly advocated the farm bills, highlighting that his government has "freed the farmers from many restrictions" and "farmers can sell their produce to anyone as per their will".

    Modi said, however, that "while the central government is trying to empower the farmers, some people are opposing the decision. They do not want the farmers to sell their produce in a free market. They want middlemen to continue to exploit the farmers".

    Taking a dig at the main opposition party, Congress, Prime Minister Modi said "They are just trying to serve their political interests. However big bang reforms for a better and self-reliant India will continue unabated". 

    Modi also reiterated that even though the bills propose a system for free market price discovery of agricultural produce, the system of state procurement of agricultural produce will continue through a minimum support price (MSP).

    MSP has been a major concern of the protesting farmers, who want anyone buying their produce below a fixed price to be punished under the law.

    The Indian Parliament passed several farm reform bills last week. Since their passage, Congress and other opposition parties have taken to the streets to protest the said bills.

    The bills in question are the: Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce Bill, 2020 and the Farmers Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.

    These reforms allow farmers to sell their produce to a buyer of their choice in contrast to the existing system of selling their produce at a designated nearby government marketplace.

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    Tags:
    Indian National Congress, protest, Agriculture, farmers, farm, Narendra Modi, India
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