Govt. says farmers peddling ‘erroneous notions’

We did our best to engage with them to remove misapprehensions, Centre says in affidavit

The Centre filed an urgent affidavit on Monday in the Supreme Court, saying that protesters are peddling an “erroneous notion” that the government and Parliament passed the controversial farm laws without consulting or discussing with anyone.

The affidavit by the Union Ministry of Agriculture came hours after the court lashed out at the government for its inability to resolve the farmers’ protests. The court indicated that it would stay the implementation of the laws and have an independent committee negotiate with the farmers.

Also read: Hundreds take to street in support of farmers’ stir

The government, however, said the fact that the protests were confined to only one part of the country showed that the majority of the farming communities were happy with the laws.

“The legislations were not hurriedly made but is a result of two decades of deliberations,” the government assured the court.

The past two decades had seen “intensive engagements with the States” on the new laws, it said.

The government said, prior to the new regime, farmers under the State agricultural market produce committees (APMC) were forced to sell their products at “market yards” to only a limited number of traders licensed under the APMC law.

Also read: Farmers’ protest | Farmers to burn copies of farm laws

The pandemic situation, with lowering demands, had necessitated the need for expanding market for farmers beyond the State boundaries through a facilitative legal framework and promotion of inter-State trade.

The new regime gives farmers the option to sell their produce outside the market yards, the Centre said.

The Centre has also implemented the recommendations of the Swaminathan Report “by increasing the Minimum Support Price (MSP) one and half times of the weighted average cost of production with bumper procurement at MSP.”

“The farmers of the nation are happy as they are given an additional option over and above the existing one,” the Centre said.

The government said multiple attempts to talk to the farmers about the laws had been stonewalled by the latter, whose stand has been “either you repeal the laws or no discussion would be made”.

“The Central government has done its best to engage with the farmers to remove any misapprehensions or misgivings in their minds and no efforts have been found lacking,” the affidavit said.

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