Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said the farm laws, against which farmers are protesting, were not passed in a jiffy by the government and a lot of discussion and consultations happened with numerous stakeholders before these legislations were finalised. She said the Centre is engaging with farmers and hoped some solution will be found.
“Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a lot of homework happens before a final call is taken on anything. Consultations take place at various levels. These are things that have been in the discussion for a very long time. Every party has spoken about it, in fact these reforms were part of their manifestos. It was not something done in a jiffy … these ideas have gone through the grind,” Sitharaman said, while addressing the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit via video conference.
She said the government has extensively used the minimum support price (MSP) to help farmers, and both the MSP and APMC (agricultural produce market committee) system will continue under the new regime as well.
Farmers from various states are protesting around Delhi against the three agriculture laws passed in the last Parliament session.
“If there are farmers who have doubts and want to speak about it, I am glad that the Agriculture Minister is sitting and engaging in meaningful conversation with them with an open mind. I hope something will come out of it,” she said. There are indications that the government could amend three major provisions in the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, which are key to the most contested legislation.
To a query on whether the Centre will allocate a significant amount in the FY22 Budget for vaccination against Covid-19, the Finance Minister said exact details of the costs involved are yet to be ascertained. “As of today, we do not know what will be the details that come with the vaccine, whether it will be one dose or two dose, are two doses going to be sufficient, or will there be recurrence of doses after six months.”
Sitharaman highlighted that the economy is recovering sharply from effects of the pandemic, with consumption demand expected to sustain and investment picking up going forward. Banks are seeing companies coming for funding for their capital expenditure plans. With the recovery and liquidity leading to bump up in inflation, Sitharaman said she was not “worried about inflation” as it seems mostly seasonal and under control as of now.
The Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India on Friday noted that inflation is likely to remain elevated, barring transient relief in the winter months from prices of perishables. The RBI has pegged CPI inflation at 6.8 per cent for the third quarter of FY21, 5.8 per cent for Q4, and 5.2-4.6 per cent in the first half of 2021-22, with risks broadly balanced.
‘Attempts to ensure economy finds resurgence’
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday urged officials of the revenue department to support the government’s efforts in reviving growth of the Indian economy. Speaking at the 63rd Founding Day of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), she said India’s growth is important for global economic revival as well.
The DRI officers should be on their toes to help government’s attempts to ensure that “the Indian economy finds resurgence, revives even during this pandemic, post the lockdown, so that we can be the engine of the global growth. We and our growth is so important, being a large democratic economy, for the global revival,” she said while addressing officers via video conference.
The 800 lean and mean staff of DRI has worked really hard, and at times also faced point blank gun threats in many cases, to ensure that the job is done effectively, she said.