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LIVE updates: Agitating farmers are misguided, says Prakash Javadekar

As the agitation entered Day 30, the unions said that the minimum support price (MSP) cannot be separated from the demand of repealing the contentious agriculture laws

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Narendra Modi

PM Narendra Modi addressing farmers on Friday. (ANI)

Farmer Protest LIVE Updates: Amid the intensifying farm agitation, PM Narendra Modi on Friday interacted with farmers from six states and released benefits under PM-Kisan scheme virtually. PM Modi said that the Central government is ready for discussions with those opposing farm laws at any time and asserted that a self-reliant farmer can lay the foundation for a self-reliant India.

Later in the day, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said 'some' farmers protesting against the recently enacted Central laws were misguided by their "political masters" and were painting a picture as if ryots across the country were with them. He also lashed out at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his criticism of the farm laws and said "he appears (in public) once in a fortnight" and challenged him for an open debate on the issue.

Meanwhile, protesting farmer unions alleged that the government's latest letter for talks is nothing but propaganda against the peasants to create an impression that they are not interested in dialogue and asked it to put the scrapping of the three recent farm laws in the agenda to resume the parley.

As the agitation entered Day 30, the unions said that the minimum support price (MSP) cannot be separated from the demand of repealing the contentious agriculture laws, asserting that the issue of a legal guarantee for the MSP is a key part of their agitation.



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11:03 PM

PM brought farm laws to double farmers' income, says BJP's GVL Narasimha Rao

Narendra Modi-led government has brought in the new farm laws to double the farmers' income, and it is the "best tribute" to the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Rajya Sabha member GVL Narasimha Rao on Friday. Rao lauded Vajpayee's services to the country. While speaking on the farm laws, Rao said that the three farm laws made by the central government are "highly beneficial" to the farmers.


"PM Modi has taken up these laws to make sure that the income of farmers is doubled. The central government brought in neem-coated urea so that it will be useful to the farmers. PM Kisan Sichai Yojana, organic farming, e-NAM, and PM Fasal Bima Yojana are highly contributing to farmers," Rao said at an event here. Rao further said that the laws will "not hamper the interests of farmers".


"Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has already written a letter to farmers explaining the benefits of those laws. Today, Rs 18000 crores are credited in the accounts of 9 crore farmers across the country under Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana. As of now, Rs 96,000 crores have already been distributed," he added.

9:46 PM

Farmer unions to again meet Saturday on govt's fresh talks offer, indicate resumption of dialogue

The protesting farmer unions met on Friday to discuss the government's latest letter inviting them for talks, with some of them indicating that they may decide to resume their dialogue with the Centre to find a solution to the ongoing deadlock over the three contentious agri laws. The unions said they will hold another meeting on Saturday where a formal decision on the Centre's invite for the resumption of stalled talks is likely to be taken. An official in the Union ministry of agriculture and farmers' welfare also said the government was expecting the next round of meeting to take place in the next two-three days.


One of the protesting union leaders, who did not wish to be named, said their demand for a legal guarantee on minimum support price will, however, remain the same. "We have another meeting tomorrow to take a decision on the Centre's letter. In this meeting, we may decide to resume talks with the government as it appears through its previous letters that it has not been able to understand our issues so far," the leader said.


He said the government's letters have no proposals, the reason why farmer unions may decide to hold fresh talks and make it understand their demands. "MSP cannot be separated from our demand of repealing these three laws. In these laws, there is mention about private mandis. Who will ensure that our crop is sold at fixed MSP if it is not there?" another leader asked.

9:03 PM

Opposition parties can't accept farm laws and are opposing it: FM Nirmala Sitharaman

8:40 PM

Agitating farmers are misguided, says Prakash Javadekar

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday said 'some' farmers protesting against the recently enacted Central laws were misguided by their "political masters" and were painting a picture as if ryots across the country were with them. He also lashed out at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his criticism of the farm laws and said "he appears (in public) once in a fortnight" and challenged him for an open debate on the issue.
 
The Minister for Environment and Information slammed the opposition parties, saying they were 'bankrupt' on the issue of farm laws, against which thousands of farmers, especially from Punjab and Haryana, are protesting at the borders of Delhi for nearly a month.
 
Noting that NCP leader Sharad Pawar as the Agriculture Minister during the UPA regime wrote to states on the subject, he wondered how could the laws enacted by the NDA government for the whole nation become 'bad' now. The refrain against the new farm laws by the opposition parties is 'hoax' and the "opposition is bankrupt on this issue," he told reporters.

We are providing ease of doing responsible business: Prakash Javadekar | Business  Standard News
 
8:15 PM

No corporate can snatch away farmer's land till Modi is PM: Amit Shah

No corporate can snatch away a farmer's land as long as Narendra Modi is the prime minister of the country, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Friday and asserted that the provision of MSP will continue and mandis will not be shut down. Addressing a gathering in Kishangarh village in the national capital, Shah said if farmer organisations felt that any provision of the three new farm laws was against their interests, the Modi government was ready to discuss and consider it with an open mind.
 
The opposition is crying hoarse over the farm laws, he said assuring farmers that the three agricultural reform laws were in their interest and do not cause any harm to them.
 
"Neither MSP will end, nor anyone can snatch your land. I want to tell farmers that as long as Narendra Modi is the prime minister, no corporate can snatch away your land, this is BJP's promise to you," he asserted. Shah blamed the opposition, including the Congress, for spreading lies about the minimum support price (MSP) and other provisions of the farm laws.
7:51 PM

Seven US lawmakers write to Mike Pompeo on farmers' protest in India

A group of seven influential US lawmakers, including Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, has written to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging him to raise the issue of farmers' protest in India with his Indian counterpart. India has called the remarks by foreign leaders and politicians on protests by farmers as "ill-informed" and "unwarranted", asserting that the matter pertains to the internal affairs of a democratic country.
 
"We have seen some ill-informed commentsrelating to farmers in India. Such comments are unwarranted, especially when pertaining to the internal affairs of a democratic country," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said earlier this month.
 
This is an issue of particular concern to Sikh Americans linked to Punjab, although it also heavily impacts the Indian-Americans belonging to other Indian states, the lawmakers said in their letter to Pompeo dated December 23. READ MORE...

Mike Pompeo
7:30 PM

Not a single benefit, a lot of harm: Arvind Kejriwal on farm laws

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday claimed the Centre's new agricultural reform laws will not benefit farmers in any way and do a lot of harm. According to the BJP, Kejriwal said, the laws will enable farmers to sell their produce outside mandis. But they only get half the price for their crop outside mandis so how is that a benefit.
 
Farmers from various parts of the country have been camping at different border points of Delhi for four weeks now to demand repeal of the three agri laws, which were voted through in Parliament in September amid strong protests by opposition parties.
 
Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party have come out strongly in support of protesting farmers. Earlier this month, Kejriwal had visited Singhu border, one of the protest sites, and reviewed arrangements made for farmers by the city government. READ MORE...

 
6:52 PM

Attempt to 'divide and mislead' farmers, allege protesting union leaders after PM's speech

Protesting farm unions on Friday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address appeared as an attempt to "divide and mislead" the farmers and said they want a legal guarantee on minimum support price (MSP). Reacting to the prime minister's allegations that political rivals were misusing the protest to push their agenda, farmer leader Abhimanyu Kohar said unions do not allow any political party to use their stage and accused the government of diverting the issue.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday squarely blamed those with political agenda for the deadlock in the Centre's talks with protesting farmers and asserted that his government is willing to hold dialogues with all, including those staunchly opposed to it, as long as talks are based on farm issues, facts and logic. In a blistering speech targeting Opposition, Modi said when the agitation began farmers had some genuine demands like guaranteed minimum support price but people with political motives then took over and began making unrelated demands like the release of those accused of violence and making highways toll-free.
 
Kohar said, "The prime minister's claim that we are being misguided by other political parties is false. It has been a month since we have been protesting at Delhi borders, and we have not offered our platform to any politician.
 
"In fact, we have banned them from using our stage. Our protest is not political."
5:30 PM

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh asks farmers not to disrupt state's telecom services

Amid reports that power supply to mobile towers was being disconnected by protesting farmers in different parts of the state, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday appealed to them to not inconvenience the general public with such actions. He urged them to exercise the same restraint that they had been showing over the past several months and said that telecom connectivity had become even more critical for people amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
The chief minister said the farmers protesting against the Centre's new farm laws should show the same discipline and sense of responsibility which they had been exercising during their protest at the Delhi border, which completed one month, and also earlier during their agitation in the state.
 
Singh's appeal came in the wake of a request from the Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA), a registered body of telecom infrastructure providers, asking the state government to persuade farmers not to resort to any unlawful activity in their fight for justice.
5:03 PM

New agri laws will provide freedom to farmers: BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis

Defending the three new agriculture laws brought by the Centre, senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Friday said these "revolutionary" legislations were aimed at providing freedom to farmers to sell their produce wherever they want. The former Maharashtra chief minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always stood behind the country's farmers and would continue to do so in future.
 
Fadnavis also accused the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government of fooling the farmers through false promises.
 
"Farmers, who sell their produce at the market yards, have to pay transport, labour, weighing and other charges. For example, a farmer recently sold his produce worth Rs 15,000 in Pune's market yard. Of the Rs 15,000, he paid Rs 4,000 as transport, labour charges and weighing charges. This is injustice," he said while showing the payment receipt.

No English for Fadnavis: Maharashtra CM has a penchant for local languages  | Business Standard News
4:21 PM

Protesters agitating against farm laws run a tractor over a police barricade in Uttarakhand

4:11 PM

Political rivals misusing farmers' protest to push their agenda; Govt willing to talk on farm issues: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday squarely blamed those with political agenda for the deadlock in the government's talks with protesting farmers and said genuine apprehensions about MSP guarantee have got overshadowed by unrelated issues such as the release of those accused of violence and making highways toll-free.
 
While putting up a strong defence of the three new farm laws, Modi said the Centre is willing to resume the dialogue on all farmers-related issues, even with those staunchly opposed to his government as long as the talks are based on issues, facts and logic.
 
He asserted that an overwhelming number of farmers across the country have welcomed the new laws and are already reaping the benefits, and listed out the BJP's victory in panchayat elections across states, in which farmers were the main voters and including in areas surrounding protest sites.
 
He said the parties rejected by the electorate are pushing their own political agenda by misleading farmers. AReferring to the protests, Modi said farmers had some genuine apprehensions about new laws including on MSP guarantee when the agitation started, but soon people with political affiliations came in between and started firing from peasants' shoulders to push their own and unrelated demands.
3:54 PM

Wrote to Mamata govt to avail PM KISAN benefits for Bengal's farmers: Narendra Singh Tomar

Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of blocking the PM KISAN scheme for farmers in West Bengal due to political reasons, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Friday said that he wrote a letter to Banerjee on Thursday asking her to not prevent farmers from the benefits of the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme. The Minister also attacked the opposition for 'shooting their ideological gun' from the shoulders of farmers and harming them eventually. He asked the agitating farmers to stop the protest and come to the discussion table.
 
Speaking to ANI, Tomar said that Agriculture Ministry has collated data that shows 70 lakh farmers would have benefitted PM Kisan Samman Nidhi had the Mamata government participated and allowed implementation of the scheme in the state, which was also pointed out by the Prime Minister earlier on Friday.
 
"Except West Bengal government, every other government has accepted PM Kisan Samman Nidhi. Rs 96,000 crore have been transferred in accounts of 10.5 crore farmers," informed the minister.
 
3:31 PM

Ready for discussions with those opposing farm laws, says PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that the Central government is ready for discussions with those opposing farm laws at any time and asserted that a self-reliant farmer can lay the foundation for a self-reliant India.
 
"Due to our commitment towards farmers, we are ready for discussions on all their issues with an open mind at any time. Some political parties supported these laws in the past. Our government is ready to talk to those opposing us as long as the discussion is based on facts. Only an 'atmanirbhar' farmer can lay the foundation for 'Atmanirbhar Bharat'," he said.
 
Addressing farmers after releasing an installment under PM KISAN scheme via video conferencing, PM Modi said that the Central government is doing record purchase of crops on the minimum support price and giving 1.5 times of the input cost to farmers.
 
"As per the Swaminathan report, we gave 1.5 times of the input cost to farmers. Earlier, there were only a few crops on which MSP used to be given. We have increased the numbers of these crops... Today we are doing record government purchase on MSP. Farmers are getting the money. Those protesting in the name of farmers were silent during their time," he said.
3:11 PM

Security forces deployed at Delhi's Ghazipur border amid farmer protests

Security forces have been deployed at Delhi's Ghazipur border on Friday in view of farmers' protest against the new agricultural laws. As farmers have been protesting on the borders of Delhi, Police advised commuters to avoid several routes as Singhu,Auchandi,Piau Maniyari, Saboli and Mangesh borders are closed today for traffic movement.
 
"Please take alternate routes via Lampur, Safiabad, Palla, and Singhu school toll tax borders. Traffic has been diverted from Mukarba and GTK road. Police also asked to avoid Outer Ring Road, GTK Road and National Highway 44.
 
"The chilla, Gazipur borders are closed for traffic coming from Noida and Ghaziabad to Delhi because of farmers' protest. People are advised to take alternate route for coming to Delhi via Anand Vihar, DND, Apsara,bhopra, and Loni borders," Delhi police said. READ MORE...

Farmers at Ghazipur border during their protest against Centres agri-laws, in New Delhi, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. (PTI Photo/Ravi Choudhary)

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First Published: Dec 25 2020 | 7:06 AM IST

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