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NEW DELHI : Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said that the government is willing to hold dialogue with farmers but asserted that the recent reforms have been undertaken with the best interests of farmers.

"There is no question of taking retrograde steps against our agricultural sector ever. The recent reforms have been undertaken with the best interests of India's farmers in mind", Rajnath Singh said while addressing the annual convention of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

As the farmers' agitation against the agricultural reforms entered the 19th day, Singh said the government is "always willing to listen to our farmer brothers, alley their misgivings and provide them with assurances whatever they can provide. He also said that his government is always open for discussion and dialogue."

"Agriculture has been one sector which has been able to avoid the adverse effects of the pandemic and, in fact, come out the best. Our produce and procurement have been plentiful and our warehouses are full," he added.

However backing the new farm laws, the Minister said that he will not take a step backwards against our agricultural sector ever. The recent reforms have been undertaken with the best interests of the country's farmers in mind.

Emphasising on Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative the Union Minister said,"In May this year, a 20 lakh crore package addressed a number of challenges faced by the country. The focus of this initiative also aimed to provide a major impetus to the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative."

Thousands of farmers have been protesting on the outskirts of Delhi since late November 26 demanding the government to repeal the newly enacted farm laws.

However, the government has held six rounds of talks with farmers' organisations including the meeting called by Union Home Minister Amit Shah offering changes to the laws and written assurances.

Farmers have been protesting at the borders of Delhi demanding the repeal of the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

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