Kailash Choudhary says the new farm laws give freedom to the farmer to sell his crop wherever he wants.

Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Kailash Choudhary spoke exclusively to The Daily Guardian before the sixth round of talks between the farmers and the Central government over the farm laws. Excerpts: 

Q: The sixth round of talks between farmers and government is set to take place. Do you think this issue can be resolved before the New Year?

A: I do believe it is possible. I pray to the almighty that it happens during this fresh round of talks. The farmers at the border need to also factor in the support that these bills are getting from various quarters. This bill is the answer to what farmers have been demanding. It provides freedom to the farmers. The farmer can sell his crop wherever he wants. I am sure we will reach some sort of conclusion in this new round of talks.

Q: There have been five round of talks held between both sides. What are the points of contention?

A: There aren’t any points in the bill that there has to be this protest. The bills talk about giving freedom and contract farming which is already present in many states, wherein the one in Punjab already gives farmers the right to file cases. Our bills go far enough to say that no decision will go against the farmers. It only says that the advance will be returned, which is fair. Only crop agreements can be made, not the land.

Q: The farmers are saying that the government will eventually end MSP and later corporates will take over their lands.

A: Our PM himself has said that MSP will not be removed and that it will be the minimum price at which the crops will be bought. The bills are ensuring that no trader can do deals of lands, only crop deals can be made. In fact, the law now says that even if it’s the mistake of the farmer, the SDM or DM cannot rule against the farmer. While if the trader makes a mistake, a case can be filed against him. Only those who don’t want the best of the farmers are trying to misguide them. The farmers want MSP to be guaranteed and we are ready for that, we are giving it in writing. 

Q: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been repeatedly tweeting about the farmer protest. What do you have to say? 

A: Rahul Gandhi and the Congress do not care about the farmers, only their political ambition. If he did care, he would have been with them. I would ask Rahul Gandhi to read his own manifesto, his party makes claims that they were going to bring in this law. The country never takes Rahul Gandhi’s words seriously.

Q: How hopeful are you for the sixth round of talks?

A: I’m extremely optimistic about the meeting. All I want to tell the protesting farmers is that we have come to work for the farmers and they should come thinking about that as well, not depend on what those trying to misguide them are saying. If the farmer feels they are not happy with any part of the law, we are ready to change it. I am very hopeful.


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