Where the Telangana government had vociferously protested the Centre's new farm laws
just under a month ago, in a complete reversal of its previous stand, the government today made explicit its support for the same laws.
While it had already announced its plans to shut down the crop procurement centres across rural Telangana in the coming year, saying that the three new Acts would enable the farmers to sell their produce anywhere they liked, the government's newest announcement left no doubt that it had aligned itself fully with the Centre's new laws.
Speaking on the matter, Agriculture Minister S Niranjan Reddy said that there was nothing wrong with implementing the legislations to see their impact on the agricultural sector of the state.
Addressing the media after inaugurating new Rythu Vedikas in Kalwakurthy, Nagarkurnool district, the minister said that since the state government was committed to the welfare of its people, it had always welcomed development programs, and had no problem with implementing the farm Acts as long as the Centre promised not to scrap the MSP system.
Further explaining the state government's volte face on the matter, he said, "Following the suggestion of many agricultural scientists, who are of the view that it is best to first implement the new agricultural laws to see their impact on the farming community before taking a decisive stand on the issue, we have decided to enact the laws. Also, since Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has promised that the crops will be procured at the MSP, we have no problem in accepting the Acts. Besides, under the laws, the farmers of the state will be able to procure seeds and fertilisers at subsidised prices which will be greatly beneficial to them. Therefore, we have come to the decision that it is best to test the laws."
In what was perhaps an attempt to preempt any criticisms from the Opposition on the government's complete U-turn on the matter, Reddy also cited the Constitution's provisions, and said that the states of the country were obliged to follow the laws of the Centre.
To allay any fears and misgiving in the farmers of the state, he then reiterated the Telangana government's "pro-farmer" inclinations.
"Ours is a regime that is committed to the welfare of Telangana's farmers. To support them, we have sanctioned the release of Rs 7,515 crore under the Rythu Bandhu scheme so far. Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao also started the unique Rythu Vedikas to ensure that the famers could sell their products at the MSP. Further, we were also able to successfully implement the CM's regulatory farming scheme. We will continue to stand by the farming community in the future as well. The farmers of the state should therefore not be worried by the decision to implement the new agricultural Acts," the minister said.
The state government's decision was welcomed by BJP state president Bandi Sanjay Kumar, who claimed that the decision would make farming a profitable livelihood in the the state.