STATE TIMES NEWS
New Delhi: Amid protests by a section of farmers against the recently enacted farm laws, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted on Sunday that these reforms have opened doors of new opportunities for farmers and bestowed on them new rights.In his monthly ‘Mann Ki Baat’ broadcast, Modi said the farm laws have begun mitigating the troubles of farmers in a short period of time since their enactment in September as he cited the example of a Maharashtra farmer who used their provisions to get the money a trader had promised but not paid to him in time.New dimensions related to agriculture and related fields have emerged as the recently enacted farm reforms have opened doors of new possibilities for farmers, he said.“The demands, which were made by farmers for years and regarding which every political party at some point of time had made promises, have been fulfilled… These reforms have not only freed them of various shackles but also given them new rights and new opportunities. These rights have begun mitigating farmers’ problems in a very short span of time,” he said.The prime minister’s remarks come at a time when thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, have dug in their heels at Delhi’s border points and hundreds have gathered at the city’s Burari ground to protest against the new farm laws.The central government has reached out to them, underscoring its willingness to hold talks with them. It has also asserted that concerns expressed by some farm bodies about the new laws are misplaced, saying existing support measures like the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and state-run ‘mandis’ will remain in place.In his address, Modi said “correct information, away from rumours and confusion of any kind” is a big strength for people in any field, as he spoke about a couple of farmers involved with innovative practices in the agricultural sector.With the broadcast coming on the eve of first Sikh guru Nanak Dev’s birth anniversary and at a time of agitation from the farming community from Punjab, the prime minister also spoke extensively on his government’s association with some significant events related to Sikhs and lauded their spirit of serving others.“I feel that I have been specially blessed by Guru Sahib that he has associated me very closely with his work,” Modi said.While Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary celebration falls on Monday, the Modi government was also associated with Guru Gobind Singh’s 350th birth anniversary events a few years ago.Next year, the 400th birth anniversary of Guru Teg Bahadur will be observed, he noted.Modi said, “I feel very grateful that Guru Sahib has granted me the opportunity to serve regularly. Opening of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor in November last year was historic. I will cherish this lifelong in my heart. It is the good fortune of all of us that we got the opportunity to serve Shri Darbaar Sahib once more. It has now become easier for our Sikh brothers and sisters abroad to send contributions in the service of Darbaar Sahib.”In his remarks, the prime minister also talked about a gurudwara in Kutch, which is considered very sacred and special and which was restored by the Gujarat government with the participation of Sikhs after it suffered damage in the 2001 earthquake.Modi was the state’s chief minister during the restoration exercise.The restoration efforts of the Lakhpat Gurudwara were honoured with the Award of Distinction by the UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Award in 2004, he recalled.He touched upon various other topics in his nearly 30-minute address, ranging from the idol of goddess Annapurna, stolen in 1913 from Varanasi, being brought back to India from Canada, to urging educational institutions to harness the strengths and talents of their alumni by engaging with them with innovative methods and active platforms.“Just like the idol of Mata Annapurna, a lot of our invaluable heritage has suffered at the hands of international gangs. These gangs sell them at a very high price in the international market. Now not only are they being subjected to heavy restrictions; India has also increased efforts for their return,” he said.India has been successful in bringing back lots of such idols and artifacts in the past few years because of such efforts, the prime minister added.Noting that it is now almost a year since the first COVID-19 case was reported in the world, he said showing any negligence regarding the pandemic remains very serious, and people should continue to fight the disease strongly.Referring to the death anniversary of B R Ambedkar on December 6, he said it is an occasion to reaffirm commitment to the country and abide by duties as envisaged by the Constitution.In the broadcast, Modi remembered the work of noted ornithologist and naturalist Dr Salim Ali, and said he has always had admiration for bird-watchers.“There are many clubs and societies that are passionate about bird watching. I hope you all discover more about them,” Modi said.He also noted that the culture of India is gaining popularity all over the world.“One such effort is by Jonas Masetti, who is based in Brazil and popularises Vedanta as well as the Gita among people there. He uses technology effectively to popularise our culture and ethos,” Modi said.The prime minister also lauded Gaurav Sharma, the MP for Hamilton West, New Zealand, for taking his oath of office in Sanskrit.Noting that the death anniversary of Sri Aurobindo falls on December 5, he said his philosophy of swadeshi shows us the way ahead and asked people to study his ideals.
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