India's new farm laws have the potential to represent a significant step forward for reforms in the agriculture sector, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said. IMF, however, added that people who could be affected the most due to the transition to the new system should be adequately protected.
The comment comes on the same day when Union Ministers and farmers will meet for the ninth time to resolve the deadlock and find a solution to the farmers' demands.
"We believe the farm bills do have the potential to represent a significant step forward for agricultural reforms in India," IMF communications director Gerry Rice said.
"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," Rice said.
"However, it is crucial that the social safety net adequately protects those who might be adversely impacted during the transition to this new system," the IMF spokesperson said. He also suggested that social safety could be assured by ensuring that the job market includes those who are affected by the reforms.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping and protesting at state border near Delhi, demanding a complete withdrawal of the three farm laws and legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP) for their crops. The centre has said that the laws will boost farmers' incomes and open more opportunities for them. The farmers, however, claim that their incomes will be slashed and they will be left at the mercy of big corporates.
The centre has said it was ready to discuss the laws, however, the farmers have demanded that the laws be repealed.
Farmers have planned a tractor rally on Republic Day, even though the centre has asked the Supreme Court to stop the farmers' tractor march as it could be an embarrassment for the country.