NCP issues clarification over Sharad Pawar's letters to Sheila Dikshit, Shivraj Chouhan
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has issued a clarification after controversy erupted over letters written by party chief Sharad Pawar (when he was the agriculture minister in the UPA dispensation) to then Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit and Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan asking chief ministers to amend the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act in their states to allow the private sector to play an important role in the field.
"The model APMC act 2003 was introduced by the Vajpayee government. However many state governments were reluctant to implement it at that point of time. Sharad Pawar Saheb after assuming charge as the Union Agriculture Minister tried to form a broader consensus amongst State Agriculture Marketing Boards by inviting suggestions for the implementation of the said act," read the statement by Mahesh Tapase, Chief Spokesperson, NCP.
"The benefit of farmers as per the model APMC act was explained to various state governments and many state governments came forward to implement the same. Till date the farmers across the country are benefitting from the implementation of the said act which was fine-tuned by Shri Sharad Pawar Saheb to protect the interest of the farmers of the country," it said.
The NCP said that the new farm bill introduced by the Modi government in the previous session of the Parliament has raised several doubts and insecurity in the minds of the farmers regarding MSP and other issues which the Centre has failed to address thereby leading to large scale protests and agitation by the farmers of the country."The Modi government could not form a broader consensus and has failed to satisfy legitimate apprehensions of the farmers and entire opposition," read the statement.
In a letter to the then Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit that the agriculture sector needs well-functioning markets to drive growth, employment and economic prosperity in the rural area of the country.
"This requires huge investments in marketing infrastructure including cold-chain. And for this, private sector participation is essential, for which an appropriate regulatory and policy environment needs to be in place. In this context, the need to amend the present State APMC Act...," Pawar had stated.
In a letter on similar lines to the then Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Pawar had highlighted the need for investments in post-harvest and marketing infrastructure from the farm gate to the consumer. "The private sector needs to play an important role in this regard," he stated.
Hundreds of farmers have been protesting on different borders of the national capital since November 26 against the three newly enacted farm laws--Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.