The government respects "farmers' sentiments" but reforms in agriculture are necessary for the country’s progress, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, defending laws enacted in September that have sparked protests by cultivators.
"Status quo cannot change things—the youth of the country cannot wait," he said in the Lok Sabha while replying to the motion of thanks on the President’s address to Parliament.
Demanding the repeal of three new farm laws that they say will hurt them to the benefit of large corporations and allow the government to discontinue buying food grains at a minimum support price (MSP), tens of thousands of farmers have been camped on the outskirts of Delhi since late 2020.
"This House, our government and we all respect farmers sentiments who are voicing their views on the farm bills. This is the reason why government ministers are constantly talking to them,” he said. "Farm reforms were needed for long. We (government have made an honest effort to do this."
Opposition lawmakers shouted slogans against Modi for using the terms "Andolanjeevi (professional protesters)" and "parjeevi (parasites)" earlier this week; and later Congress and Trinamool Congress members walked out of the house, reported NDTV.com. "The farm laws will not bring down any farmers. No mandi has been shut or Minimum Support Prices have been stopped," said Modi, referring to government-mandated support prices for key crops.
"No matter how much you try to sabotage it, you will fail to do so, because the truth is out there, that the farmers have not lost anything since the laws came into effect," Modi said without naming the Congress.
"The Congress today is a confused and divided party. Such a confused party cannot help the country or anyone,” he said.
Modi in Rajya Speech on Monday coined two terms—"aandolan jeevi" and "Foreign Destructive Ideology (FDI)"--to attack the Opposition and foreign individuals who have tweeted in support of the farmers’ protests. On Wednesday, he attacked a group that "talks the right things" but allegedly protests action.
”There is a group of who talk the right things but start protesting when it comes to doing the right things,” said Modi, claiming such people opposed gender justice and nuclear power projects.