Amid farmers' protest, PM Modi says reforms needed for development, 'can't build new century with old laws'

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that reforms are needed for development, adding that "some laws that used to be good in the past century have become a burden in the present century."

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi was speaking at the launch of Agra metro rail project through video conference. (Image: PTI)

Amid protest over the Centre's three contentious farm laws, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that reforms are needed for development and some laws from the past century have become a burden now. "We cannot build the next century with the laws of the previous century," he said.

"Reforms are needed for development. Reforms are very much needed for a new order and to give new facilities. We cannot build the next century with the laws of the previous century," news agency PTI quoted PM Modi as saying at the launch of Agra metro rail project through video conference.

"Some laws that used to be good in the past century have become a burden in the present century. Reforms should be a continuous process," PM Modi said.

PM Modi further said that his government is carrying out "holistic reforms". "Earlier, reforms used to happen in a piecemeal manner, or keeping in mind some sectors and departments," PM Modi was quoted as saying.

The reforms carried out by his government are also getting reflected in election results, the prime minister said.

During his brief address, PM Modi made no direct reference to the new laws or the farmers' protests, PTI reported.

He said that the reforms carried out in recent past have infused self-confidence in the country, adding that people will be satisfied when they go through the "finer details".

"This confidence has been seen in every election in the recent past. A glimpse of this confidence is seen in the election results in every part of the country, including UP," PM Modi said.

PM Modi also said that in recent years, the poor and the middle class have showered their "unprecedented blessings" on the efforts of the government. He said that their support and the small joys experienced by the countrymen "gives me the courage to do new things and take new initiatives".

PM Modi was further quoted by PTI as saying that his government intends to solve the festering problems faced by people, make life easy, increase investment and ensure the maximum use of modern technology.

PM Modi said that a major problem in the country's infrastructure sector was that new projects were announced but not much attention was given on how they will be funded.

His government ensures the availability of funds at the start of a new project itself, PM Modi said.

PM Modi said that over Rs 100 lakh crore will be spent under the National Infrastructure Pipeline project and work is being done on the master plan for multi-modal connectivity. Efforts are also on to attract investment from all over the world to improve the country's infrastructure, he said.

Work is being carried out on 1,000 km of new metro rail lines in 27 cities countrywide, Modi said, claiming big progress in this sector since his first government took charge in 2014.

The Rs 8,379.62-crore Agro Metro project has two corridors with a total length of 29.4 km and will connect major tourist attractions like Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Sikandara with railway stations and bus stands.

The project is scheduled to be completed in 5 years. Agra has a population of 26 lakh and 60 lakh tourists visit the city every year.

On the tourism sector, PM Modi said that the industry benefits the most from better connectivity and infrastructure. Work is on to make "local tourism vocal", he added.

PM Modi said that the government has not only increased the number of countries covered under the e-Visa scheme, it has also significantly reduced the tax on hotel room tariff.

"With the efforts of the government, India is now ranked at number 34 on Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index.

In 2013, India was ranked 65th on this index," PM Modi said, while hoping for a recovery in the sector as the coronavirus situation improves.

The event was also attended by Union Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

PM Modi pitch on the importance of reforms comes ahead of Tuesday's Bharat Bandh over the three new farm laws recently enacted at the Centre.

Farmers have been protesting at Delhi's borders for the past 10 days demanding scrapping of the three farm laws passed by Parliament in the Monsoon Session -- two new laws and one amendment. These are the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.

(With inputs from PTI)