Farm laws: SC panel to submit ‘unbiased’ report within 2 months

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January 20, 2021 3:15 AM

“Our views may be different. When a responsibility like this is given by the court, we have to work in an unbiased and transparent way. In the report, we cannot give our views and that is very clear,” said PK Joshi, one of the members of the committee.

Joshi, a former south Asia head of International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), also said the committee is hopeful of completing the report within two months, as directed by the SC.Joshi, a former south Asia head of International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), also said the committee is hopeful of completing the report within two months, as directed by the SC.

Members of the Supreme Court-appointed panel to resolve the farmers’ protest against three farm laws met on Tuesday and chalked out a road map for next two months for submitting an “unbiased” report within deadline.

“Our views may be different. When a responsibility like this is given by the court, we have to work in an unbiased and transparent way. In the report, we cannot give our views and that is very clear,” said PK Joshi, one of the members of the committee.

Joshi, a former south Asia head of International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), also said the committee is hopeful of completing the report within two months, as directed by the SC.

Acknowledging the opposition to the committee by protesting farmer unions, another member and farmer leader Anil Ghanwat said: “The biggest challenge is to convince the agitating farmers to come and speak with us. We will try our level best and we will definitely want to speak with them.”

Noted agriculture economist Ashok Gulati, who is also a member of the panel, said the best views and the collective wisdom of the committee on the farm laws, and also views of farmers and other stakeholders, would be collated and put in a proper framework and communicated to the Supreme Court.

Under attack from protesting unions for their “pro-government” public stand on three contentious farm laws, the panel members are believed to have discussed how to reach out to the protesting farmers, including option of visiting the protest sites.

As farmer unions want complete withdrawal of the three laws, which the government has made it clear that it won’t, Ghanwat said the farm sector reforms are much-needed and no political party in the next 50 years will ever attempt them again if these laws are repealed.

He also said that the laws implemented in the last 70 years were not in the interest of farmers and about 4.5 lakh farmers have committed suicide.

Briefing media after the panel’s first meeting, Ghanwat said the first round of consultations with farmers and other stakeholders has been scheduled for Thursday. Sources, however, said the committee will meet on Wednesday too. It could not be ascertained if panel members would also join the talks between government and unions scheduled for Wednesday.

Last week, one of the members of the committee, Bhupinder Singh Mann, recused himself of the panel after his organisation removed him as president. The name of his former organisation was also changed to Bharatiya Kisan Union (Punjab) from BKU (Mann).

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