Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday made a fervent appeal to protesters to end their agitation against the new farm laws even as he questioned opposition parties for their sudden "U-turn" on the agriculture reforms.
The Prime Minister also hit out at those behind the protests, saying a new "breed" of agitators has emerged in the country who cannot live without agitation and the country should be beware of them.
He also said the new FDI (Foreign Destructive Ideology) has emerged in the country and "we need to be more aware to save the country from such ideology".
"We have to guard against a new FDI - foreign destructive ideology", said PM in Rajya Sabha.
Modi also stressed that India is very proud of the contribution of Sikhs and the language used by some for them will not benefit the country.
He alleged that some people are also trying to defame Sikhs.
"This is a community that has done so much for the nation. The country takes pride in the contribution of Sikhs, but some people are trying to defame them. The words and blessings of the Guru Sahibs are precious. The language used by some for them will not benefit the country," he said, replying to the Motion of Thanks on the President's address in Rajya Sabha.
"Minimum support price (MSP) based agri procurement will continue and so will PDS. Give agri reforms a chance, open to changes. Despite record production, there are problems in the agriculture sector, solutions have to be found together," he said while quoting his predecessor Manmohan Singh on the need to remove hurdles in farmers selling produce freely.
On the farm sector and the ongoing protest, Modi said, "MSP was there. MSP is there. MSP will remain in the future. Affordable ration for the poor will continue. Mandis will be modernised".
"We urge those sitting on the agitation that even though it is their right to agitate, the manner in which the old people are sitting there, is not right. They (agitators) should be taken back. They should end the agitation and we will together find a solution as all doors are open for dialogue. From this House, I again invite them for dialogue," he said while appealing to farmers to end their agitation.
"We should move forward and not take the country behind. All the opposition and the government, protesters should give these reforms a chance and see if this change helps them. We are ready to remove shortcomings."
"I assure you that Mandis will be modernised. Not just this, MSP was there, it is there and will remain. The cheap ration given to over 80 crore people will continue. Please do not try to spread misinformation. We also need to strengthen means to increase the incomes of farmers," he also said.
He also said Congress should take pride that Modi had to do what the former Prime Minister wanted.
Modi said since 2014 his government has initiated changes in the agriculture sector aimed at empowering the farmer.
The crop insurance scheme was changed to make it more farmer-friendly.
He mentioned that the former Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Congress party had favoured these reforms.
"Rs 1.15 lakh crore paid into the account of farmers under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi. Rs 90,000 crore of claims cleared under crop insurance; amount bigger than loan waiver. Loan waiver does not benefit small farmers as they don't have banks accounts or take loans, Number of farmers with less than 1-hectare land has risen from 51 per cent to 68 per cent; 12 crore small farmers in the country," he added while defending the laws.
The prime minister admitted that there were problems in the agriculture sector and said everyone together has to find a solution to them.
"I feel time cannot wait. Every law requires reforms as we are not ones living in a static state. We should all move together with good reforms," he said.
He noted that if "we delay the reforms further, while sticking to our political preferences, we will usher the farmers towards darkness and we have to worry about it".
"World has seen Indian capability during surgical strikes, says PM Modi, referring to airstrikes on terrorist camps across Line of Control. India seeing record investment; a nation to see double-digit growth in an otherwise gloomy world outlook. India is the mother of democracy; governance, the polity is democratic. India's nationalism is neither narrow, self-centered nor aggressive," he said further, quoting Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose
"India's democracy is not a western institution, it is a human institution," the PM replied during a debate in Rajya Sabha.
(With PTI Inputs)