As farmers intensified their protests against the newly enacted farm laws, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday asserted that agriculture was a “mother sector” and there was no question of taking any “retrograde steps” against it ever.
In an address at the annual general meeting of industry chamber FICCI, Mr Singh also said the recent reforms in the sector have been undertaken with the best interests of farmers in mind and that the government is always “open to discussion and dialogue”.
“There is no question of taking retrograde steps against our agricultural sector ever. The recent reforms have been undertaken with the best interests of India’s farmers in mind,” he said.
“We are, however, always willing to listen to our farmer brothers, alley their misgivings and provide them with assurances we can provide. Our Government is always open to discussion and dialogue,” Mr Singh said.
The defence minister said agriculture has been one sector which has been able to avoid the adverse effects of the pandemic and, in fact, come out the best.
“Our produce and procurement have been plentiful and our warehouses are full,” he said.
Thousands of farmers have been protesting for more than two weeks on the borders of Delhi, demanding withdrawal of three new farm laws.
Talking about the impact of coronavirus pandemic and strength of the country’s economy, the defence minister said India received the highest ever total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) USD 35.73 billion in the first five months of the current fiscal which is 13 per cent higher compared to same period last fiscal.
“It is the strength of our economy…that India, in April-August 2020, received the highest ever total FDI. The total FDI inflow into India in the first five months was USD 35.73 billion, 13 per cent higher than that in the same period last fiscal,” he said.