Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Monday said that the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then agriculture minister Sharad Pawar wanted to bring the same farm reforms during the UPA regime, but could not implement them due to "political pressure".
Addressing representatives of 11 farmer unions Tomar said, “Many commissions, ministers, chief minister’s and governments have made an effort to work in the direction of farm sector reform. During the UPA regime Dr Manmohan Singh and Sharad Pawar wanted to implement these reforms. However, due to some pressure, they couldn’t implement these laws.”
Tomar also assured the nation that Modi government will not take any decisions that harms the poor farmers of India.
"Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whatever positive steps are taken for bringing reforms, some section has opposed them. However, these reforms have been instrumental in changing the picture of the country," an official statement quoted Tomar having said in the meeting with the farm groups.
Justifying his government’s newly formulated yet contentious farm laws, Tomar also said that the previous governments, farm scientists, farm bodies and chief ministers had recommended and supported the farm reforms.
Sharad Pawar, on the other hand said that the government should take farmers' agitation seriously.
"I think the government should take the entire agitation very seriously. There has to be dialogue & solution. I heard... there are four or five suicides. If that type of situation is developing, it's not good for the country", Pawar said.
Meanwhile, 40 farmer unions, especially from Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at various borders of Delhi seeking repeal of the three farm laws for ove a month now.
The ongoing farmers' agitation over the three Central agriculture reform laws entered its 33rd day on Monday.
The government has invited protesting farmers to resume talks on December 30, marking the first conversation to be held after 25 days since the last round on December 5, which the farmers have agreed to attend.
Marking the latest development on farmer's front, a farmer from Punjab's Fazilka district allegedly died by suicide on Sunday, consuming poison a few kilometres from the Tikri border protest site in Delhi in solidarity with the protest, PTI reported.
In his suicide note, he said he was taking his life so that the government is compelled to listen to the farmers