President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday lauded the Modi government's three farm laws that are at the heart of farmers' protests. Addressing the joint sitting of Parliament on the first day of the Budget Session, Kovind said that over 10 crore small farmers have started getting benefits of the three farm laws and that many political parties supported these reforms in the past.
"After extensive deliberations, the Parliament passed three important farm reforms -- the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Simplification) Bill, the Agriculture (Empowerment and Protection) Price Assurance and Agricultural Services Agreement Bill, and the Essential Commodities Amendment Bill. More than 10 crore small farmers started getting benefits immediately. Many political parties had given full support to these reforms from time to time only after realizing these benefits to small farmers," he said.
Noting that the Supreme Court has put the implementation of the three laws on hold, Kovind said the government will respect whatever is the decision of the apex court.
The President said that the new laws will not change affect the existing system and also the rights and facilities which were under the old system.
"Rather, through these agricultural reforms, the government has given new rights to farmers as well as new rights," he said.
Kovind also slammed as "'very unfortunate" the violence during the farmers' tractor parade on Republic Day. He said that the "insult" to the tricolour and Republic Day during the January 26 protests was "very unfortunate".
"If the Constitution gives us the right to freedom of expression, it also reaches us to take laws and rules seriously," he said in his address that was boycotted by over 20 opposition parties in support of the demand of protesting farmers that the three laws be repealed.