Farmers Protest: Round 11 Talks On Friday Inconclusive As Govt Firm On Their Stands

Farmer unions today conveyed to the government that they want a complete repeal of three contentious farm laws while the union ministers asked them to reconsider government’s proposal of putting the laws on hold for 12-18 months. The eleventh round of meetings between farmer unions and the government over the three farm laws has ended without reaching a consensus again. Surjeet Singh Phul, State President of BKU Krantikari (Punjab) said that no date for the next meeting has been fixed by the government. Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has told farmer unions that government is ready for another meeting if farmers are willing to discuss the proposal of suspending the laws. Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Railways, Commerce and Food Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash were holding the talks with the representatives of 41 farmer unions at the Vigyan Bhawan here. Farmer leaders said that meeting may have lasted for nearly five hours, but two sides sat face to face for less than 30 minutes today.the last round of talks, the government had offered to suspend farm laws for 18 months besides appointing a joint committee consisting of representatives from both sides – farmer unions and central government to resolve the deadlock. However, one of the fronts of protesting farmers has outrightly rejected the government’s offer saying that they want nothing but a complete repeal of all these contentious legislations. Samkyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of protesting unions, said in a statement that its full general body has decided to reject the government’s offer. It said that a full repeal of three farm laws and urged the government to enact legislation for remunerative MSP for all farmers. Notably, the three farm laws have already been put on hold by the Supreme Court till further orders. The apex court had also appointed an expert committee to hold consultation with the stakeholders to end the impasse. The SC-appointed panel has been asked by the apex court to submit its report within two months. On January 21st, the SC-appointed panel started consultation with the stakeholders and interacted with 10 farmer organisations and discussed the issue in details with them. The three farm laws were enacted in September last year. The Central government has been saying that these laws are major reforms in the agriculture sector and will help increase farmers’ income. 

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