Gerry Rice, the director of Communications at International Monetary Fund, on Thursday backed the Modi government’s decision to roll out farm laws, said the farm laws passed by the Indian Parliament in September have the potential to represent a significant step forward for agricultural reforms. But there is a need to strengthen the social safety net for those who might be adversely affected by the transition to the new system. The firm believes that it would enhance the rural growth in India.
Speaking at a conference in Washington, Rice said that the measures will enable farmers to directly contract with sellers, allow farmers to retain a greater share of the surplus by reducing the role of middlemen, enhance efficiency and support rural growth. And of course, the growth benefits of these reforms will depend, critically, on the effectiveness and the timing of their implementation, so there is a need to pay attention to those issues as well with the reform, Rice said.
The word of encouragement from IMF comes on a day when Union Ministers and farmers are set to meet for a ninth time to find a solution to the demands of farmers, who among other conditions want the laws withdrawn entirely. Eight rounds of talks between the farmers and the government have failed as the farmers demanded that the laws should be repealed. Earlier, the Supreme Court of India stayed the three contentious laws and constituted a committee to examine the ground situation. Farmers mainly from Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh have been protesting against the three farm laws for the last 50 days.
The government, however, is ready to discuss the farm laws clause by clause but the farmers are stuck to their demand of complete repeal of the farm laws. Farmers have planned a tractor rally on January 26 though the centre urged the Supreme Court to make the farmers stop that rally as it could tarnish the country’s image on an important day.