Farmer protests against agri ordinances politically motivated: Shanta Kumar

Former Union minister and BJP leader Shanta Kumar on Monday termed the protests by farmers in Punjab and Haryana against the Centre’s three agriculture ordinances as politically motivated.

The veteran leader said the recommendation made by the high-level committee on Food Corporation of India (FCI) restructuring, which he chaired, had made recommendations to bring radical changes in the system that would have revolutionised the farm sector.

“I can say with guarantee that in India there is highest-level of corruption in the FCI,” he said.

Shanta Kumar said an expert committee of the then planning commission had also found that the government spends ₹3 crore on transportation, storage and delivery of foodgrains worth ₹1 crore. “Therefore, we had recommended Direct Benefit Transfer to the farmers. The PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojna which has been implemented by the Centre was part of that report,” he said.

“Other key finding in the recommendation was that agriculture was not a remunerative profession but no country can do without it. Therefore, almost all countries give direct income support to the farmers. The system we had proposed would help save ₹40,000 crore, which could be given to the farmers as direct income support,” he said.

Besides, the committee recommended that the procurement for the buffer stock should be done by the states. “In a way, we intended to provide benefit worth ₹70,000 crore to 9 crore farmers. One recommendation was to restructure the National Food Security Act (NFSA) by providing PDS rations to the needy,” he said.

“People have grossly misunderstood the recommendations of the report and there will be no effect on the MSP,” he said, adding that the farmers are being mislead for political interests.

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