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Webinar meet On ‘India’s Farmer Reform Bills, Impact & National Unity

Webinar meet On ‘India’s Farmer Reform Bills, Impact & National Unity
February 18
16:26 2021
Sukhi Chahal Chairman , Punjab Foundation California-USA

Sukhi Chahal Chairman , Punjab Foundation California-USA

Geetha Patil

BOSTON: World NRI Association (WNA)-USA organized zoom webinar meeting on the current burning topic, ‘India’s Farmer Reform Bills, Impact & National Unity & Integrity’ on Saturday, 13th February 2021 morning. Hundreds of interested participants attending it to have a first hand understanding of   the Farm Bills and its benefits to the farmers in the short and long runs.

Maa Rajyalaxmi, the founder of WNA-USA welcomed all the speakers and audiences to the program and explained briefly why PM Modi has taken an initiation to reform the Farm Bills and help them to become self-reliant in the long run. She said that WNA-Internal and WNA-USA are here to investigate the connection of issue to the universe and take care of its harmonization in every possible way.  Abhishek Singh, the president WNA-USA invited all the speakers one by one with their brief introduction and requested them to put forth their thoughts and enlighten the audiences.

Suresh Prabhu, India’s current Sherpa to the G7 & G20, 6-times Member of Parliament who held 10 cabinet positions including Minister of Railways, Commerce and industry, and Civil Aviation explained to the audiences the Farm Bills. He shared his vision and thoughts about this. He said that these Farm Bills were enacted to ensure a complete transformation of the agriculture sector and empower farmers by providing them free and competitive market outlets even though the agriculture sector contribution to GDP has come down from 18 to 14 percent.

Robert Lancia_Former Member of the Rhode Island House

Robert Lancia_Former Member of the Rhode Island House

Nevertheless, farmers are the heart of Indian agriculture policies and their welfare is possible only when they are free sell their produce for the best price not for the minimum price support option or through one outlet called Agriculture Product Market Committee (APMC). New laws are meant to free them from this one outlet. They are at liberty to contact directly the buyers and sell their produce by passing the APMC. Farmers can also continue their selling with the existing Minimum Support Price (MSP) opportunity. These bills are very important steps in the right direction. When our famers get best market price and dominate their decision of what they wish to grow, when to sell, and at what price then Indian economy can go beyond the 5-trillion mark. One important thing to note here is that there is no provision in the Bills for any company to come in and take away farmers’ lands.

Prabhualsomentioned that the younger generation farmers do not want to continue agriculture as they are not getting good income and remaining poor. Governments’ intention is to change their socio-economic status by changing the whole paradigm. Now, we need to continue our dialogue with our farmers who are protesting and work together to solve their problem.

Neeraj Singh_Indian leader & Social worker

Neeraj Singh_Indian leader & Social worker

Neeraj Singh stated that farmers are demanding assurance of MSP not just on wheat and rice but on all other crops so that majority framers are covered, and the government passed these bills in haste and not consulted farmers’ representative. They need to work together and make some modifications in the bills.

Sukhi Chahal said that Sikh farmers who are protesting are not anti-Indians. There are some misconceptions between the farmers and the government as these bills are passed in hasteand notions like there is lack of statutory support in the bills for the MSP, big companies are going to take awaytheir lands, and low bargaining power of the farmers are some of the reasons that led to the opposition to the bills. MSP is a major concern, especially for farmers from Punjab and Haryana, where 65% of wheat (2019) is procured at MSP by the Food Corporation of India and some state agencies. And at the same time, various opposition parties alleged that the bills are anti-farmer and corporate-friendly but that is not true.

Maa Rajyalaxmi, Founder-WNA International

Maa Rajyalaxmi, Founder-WNA International

He further said that he supports farmers’ protest but never ever supports the incident of 26th January. When the one section of Sikh protestors who wanted to highjack the farmers’ protest and planned to host Nishan Saheb on the Red Fort has led all other Sikhs like me down. He condemned that act but commended the act of Delhi Police.MSP is not good for Punjab formers in the long run. Government need to introduce horticulture and dairy in Punjab and shift rice growing to UP or Bengal.

He emphasized that wither NRIs or any outside countries should not interfere with this issue. It is India’s internal matter and he has lot of trust in PM Modi and his government in resolving these issues amicably. He requested Suresh Prabhu ji to find out the solutions to the issue by opening up re-dialogues with real farmers.

Ajay Shah_president World Hindu Council of America

Ajay Shah_president World Hindu Council of America

Ajay Shah and Robert Lancia gave the audiences NRI’s and America’s perspective of the Farm Bills. Ajay Ji also said that these bills are very beneficial to the farmers and wants the market to decide the prices of agricultural commodities. He further said that the minimum support price policy will weaken the farmers, instead of empowering them. Mr. Lancia also expressed his concern for the American farmers struggle as well and said that farm loan delinquencies are rising, as they are not getting better price for their produce. We need to look into India’s FarmBills to help them.

Maa Rajyalaxmi concluded the session by saying that our inner force connects us to the universe. Let us work together in harmony and live in peace.

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