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Govt intentions clear, farm leaders will find way: Narendra Singh Tomar




Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has said he is confident of a consensus between the government and protesting farmers on the issue of the new agricultural laws and that the farmer protest movement would end soon.

He said that only the “real farmer leaders” will come forward and find a way out. The intentions and policy of the government are correct and if the real leaders of the farmers come to the fore then the solution of the issue will come, Tomar said.

He said that there are some people who are obstructing the path to a solution and do not want them to reach a decision, but the real farmer leaders will surely find a way out. His direct reference was towards the opposition political parties.

Tomar said in an exclusive interview to IANS, that “It is on the minds of some people that all three laws should be withdrawn so they are not allowing a decision to be reached.”

In addition to the Ministry of Agriculture, Tomar, who handles the Ministry of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Food Processing Industries, has led four of the five rounds of talks with farmer representatives. Apart from this, he was also present during the meeting of farmer leaders on December 8 with Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

In relation to these talks, Tomar answered IANS questions saying, “There is not a single person among the farmer representatives in the true sense who can say that he alone can talk about the farmers and the new laws. Wherever there are objections, issues should be discussed with the government.”

The Union Agriculture Minister said that the policy of the government is right, the intention is right and the leaders are also right, so there should be no doubt in the minds of the farmers.

Asked about the obstacles faced by the Modi government for the reforms initiated in the field of agriculture due to the protest of farmers against the new agriculture laws, he said, “When such new reforms are done then doubts certainly arise in the minds of some people, but I believe that the government has tried to remove the doubts and will do it further. I hope there will be a solution.”

Confident of finding solutions to the problems of the farmers and ending the agitation soon, Tomar said that the government is ready to renegotiate with the farmer leaders and when the “real farmer leaders” come forward in the talks, they will find avenues for solutions.

Listing the benefits to the farmers from the new agricultural laws implemented by the Centre, he said, “The new laws provide farmers the freedom to sell their crops anywhere in the country at the desired price. They guarantee payment of prices within 3 days. The laws provides that the farmers sitting at home get a nationwide price.”

Tomar said that if there is no tax on farmers’ purchase of crops, they will also get the benefit because they will get higher prices due to no tax.

Describing the specialty of the contract farming law, he said that this law only allows the contract of the crop and the law has a provision to fix the price before sowing the crop. He said that this law will attract farmers to cultivate expensive crops and use technology, as well as cultivate according to global standards, their products will be used in food processing, and it will definitely benefit the farmers and their produce They will get reasonable and remunerative prices.

The minister clarified that the apprehension on farmers’ land under the new laws is baseless.

Clarifying the provision for settlement of disputes, he said that in case of any dispute, it will be settled within 30 days at the SDM level and its appeal can go up to the Collector.

Farmers have been camping since November 26 on the borders of Delhi. Leaders of agitating farmer organisations want repeal of the three new laws implemented by the Centre – the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Price Assurance and Agricultural Services Agreement Act 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.

They are adamant their demands while the government has offered to amend these laws and is trying to convince the farmers for this.

Meanwhile, leaders of some other farmers groups of Punjab, Haryana and Uttarakhand also met the Union Agriculture Minister and assured their support on all the three farm laws.

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Modi calls up Badal to enquire about his health




Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday morning called up former Punjab Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) patriarch Parkash Singh Badal on phone to enquire about his health.

The grand old man of Punjab politics, Badal, 94, on Wednesday tested positive for the Covid-19.

“PM Modi spoke to Parkash Singh Badal and enquired about his health,” PMO sources said.

Badal is undergoing treatment at Dayanand Medical College in Ludhiana.

Just weeks ahead of the polls, Badal senior has been touring his Lambi constituency in Muktsar district.

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Amit Palekar is AAP’s CM face for Goa polls




Describing Amit Palekar as a “fresh, committed face”, Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday nominated this 46-year-old lawyer as the party’s chief ministerial candidate for the 2022 state assembly polls in Goa.

Kejriwal, who is in the coastal state on a two-day visit, said that Palekar would be contesting from the St Cruz assembly constituency in North Goa.

“We said we will give a Goa CM face whose heart beats for Goa and who is willing to give his life for Goa, who can take everyone along in Goa irrespective of religion, caste. And most importantly, he should be an honest man. That man is Amit Palekar,” Kejriwal told reporters.

Palekar joined the party a few months ago but was indirectly thrust with high profile political and activism-linked assignments. Palekar belongs to the Bhandari samaj, one of the largest non Brahmin caste groupings in Goa.

Kejriwal last year had promised that the party would field a Chief Ministerial face from the Bhandari samaj, a caste grouping which the Delhi Chief Minister said had been largely deprived of political representation at the very top.

“You have seen the dirty politics of the last five years and in the last two months you have seen it fall at such a level that the Goans have begun to feel ashamed. We have entered politics to change this and are asking for one chance to bring a change,” Palekar said soon after accepting the mantle.

“I was a victim of scams. Despite being a state ranker, because my father had no money I didn’t get a government job. And I decided that one day I will fight against this injustice. I want to thank Arvind Kejriwal for this opportunity,” he also said.

The AAP is contesting the state assembly polls in Goa under its own steam and has steered clear of alliance offers from the Trinamool Congress, Congress and other regional parties.

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PM Modi to meet Central Asian leaders virtually




Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host the first India-Central Asia Summit in virutal format on January 27.

Presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan will participate in the virtual meet.

This will be the first engagement of its kind between India and the Central Asian countries at the level of leaders.

The state heads of central Asian countries were invited to grace the Republic Day celebrations but was forced to cancel it owing to the Corona situation.

In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said: “The first India-Central Asia Summit is a reflection of India’s growing engagement with the Central Asian countries, which are a part of India’s Extended Neighbourhood”.

PM Modi paid a historic visit to all Central Asian countries in 2015. Subsequently, there have been exchanges at high-levels at bilateral and multilateral forums.

The inception of the India-Central Asia Dialogue at Foreign Ministers’ level, the 3rd meeting of which was held in New Delhi from 18-20 December 2021, has provided an impetus to India-Central Asia relations’, the statement read.

During the first India-Central Asia Summit, the leaders are expected to discuss steps to take forward India-Central Asia relations to newer heights.

They are also likely to exchange views on regional and international issues of interest, especially the evolving regional security situation.

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