NEW DELHI: Building up support for the farm Bills passed by Parliament, the BJP on Monday released a statement of 32 retired bureaucrats, who stated that the legislations are watershed in unshackling the farming community from exploitative practices.
Facing spirited opposition to the farm Bills, with farmers hitting the streets in Punjab, Haryana and other states, the secretary-ranked former bureaucrats claimed that unnecessary doubts about the MSPs are being fanned.
“We are a group of public spirited citizens of India comprising retired All India and Civil Services officers, dedicated to the sacred cause of securing the emergence of a Great India,” the statement by the group of 32 retired bureaucrats argued.
“The farm Bills passed by Parliament mark the watershed in the liberation of India’s farming community from the shackles of exploitative practices that slow-pedaled their progress.”
Targeting the critics of the measures, the group in a statement said, "We have reasons to apprehend the disinformation which certain sections within our society are trying to spread in the country. We have recent instances of untruths and distortions being paraded before the public with hugely negative impact on the morale of the minorities, students, and now the farmers."
The general public has every reason to suspect attempts by well-known "vested interests" to destabilise the country and create disaffection among the minorities, students and farmers, it alleged.
The group of 32 former IAS officers include former finance secretary S Narayan, former banking secretary D K Mittal, former defence secretary G Mohan Kumar, former petroleum secretary Saurabh Chandra, and former civil aviation secretary K N Srivastava.
In an apparent reference to the Congress, the group said the emancipation of the farmers from the middlemen and empowering them with the freedom to choose where and how to sell their produce was enshrined in the manifestos of certain political forces which oppose it now.
The statement said the government has introduced a definite game-changer in a farmer's life through the "far-sighted" legislations.
Major impediments which retarded the seamless growth of the farming fraternity of India are given the go-by through the passage of these monumental Acts.
Citing the proposed benefits of these laws, including freedom to farmers to sell their produce anywhere they want and allowing them to enter into contracts with traders, the group said it is objectionable to "incite" farmers and create disaffection by wrongly suggesting that their interests are being bartered in favour of multinational concern.
The government, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given categorical assurances that the minimum support price mechanism (MSP) shall remain as ever before, it said.
The former public servants said wherever farmers are suffering, it is because of inadequate local marketing facilities leading to their "exploitation" by middlemen.
If India is developed as one market for them, and if private parties purchase their products, the farmers have nothing to lose, they added.
"This historic legislation, coupled with the various economic development packages announced by the government will definitely pave the way for the upward rise of the farming community, bringing in phenomenal progress to them. The bills create a fair and free ecosystem for farmers," they said.
"Our group condemns the surreptitious practices of vested interest for misleading and misguiding the farmers and discrediting the well intentioned national initiatives," they said.
Meanwhile, the Delhi BJP on Monday launched a campaign to reach out to farmers in the national capital and dispel misconceptions about the farm reform laws, as protests erupted in neighbouring states against them.
Leader of Opposition in Delhi BJP, Ramvir Singh Bidhuri held a meeting with farmers from 22 villages at Tajpur village in South Delhi, and said the Congress and other parties were "spreading rumours" that minimum support price (MSP) will be abolished.
"The truth is, in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's regime, agriculture production has registered huge increase, the MSP has also been substantially increased and the government has made record procurement of foodgrains from farmers," Bidhuri said.
He said the three farm reform laws will pave way for doubling farmers income.
"It will also increase agricultural production through new technology and payment of agricultural produce of farmers will be guaranteed within three days."
"If any farmer gives his land on contract, then the buyer will bear the losses, if any to the crops, and arrange necessary inputs," he said.
Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta said opposition parties were "misguiding" farmers to serve their vested interests and the two-week long Delhi BJP campaign will dispel rumours spread by them.
Delhi BJP general secretary and convener of the campaign Kuljeet Chahal said many meetings will be held with farmers of 365 villages by senior leaders, including party MPs and MLAs in Delhi.
The decision to start the campaign was taken at a meeting of senior Delhi BJP leaders on Sunday, he said.
"The campaign will primarily create awareness about the three farm Bills that were passed and later approved by the President. However, the condition of farmers in Delhi under the Arvind Kejriwal government and how it has failed to meet its promises with them, will also be discussed in these meetings," he said.
Chahal, who himself addressed a meeting with farmers at Majra Dabas village, said the campaign will also reach out to urbanised villages in Delhi whose issues like compensation, land acquisition and civic amenities are yet to be settled.
(With PTI Inputs)