The government has asked farmers’ bodies to identify specific issues related to the three new farm laws and submit those by Wednesday for consideration and discussion in the next round of talks on Thursday, an official statement said after a nearly three-hour-long meeting remained inconclusive.
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Railways and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, and Minister of State for Commerce and Industries Som Prakash on Tuesday interacted with the representatives of 35 farmers organisations, mainly from Punjab.
During the meeting at Vigyan Bhawan here, the ministers explained the benefits of farm reform acts to the representatives of the farmers’ Unions. Various issues related to these laws were discussed at length and talks were held in a cordial atmosphere, the agriculture ministry said in its statement.
Tomar emphasised that the government is fully committed towards the welfare of farmers and agriculture development is always on the top priority.
“During the deliberations, the Union Agriculture Minister proposed to constitute an expert committee to put forth the issues of farmers so as to resolve them with mutual consent but the representative of the farmers unions suggested that all the representatives will attend a further round of discussions with the Government to resolve the matter amicably,” the statement said.
During the interaction, the government suggested to the farmer representatives “to identify the specific issues related to Farm Reform Acts and share with the government on December 2 for consideration. These issues will be discussed during the fourth round of meeting to be held on December 3.”
At the meeting, it was assured that the Centre is always committed to protecting the interest of farmers and is always open for discussions for farmers’ welfare, the ministry said.
Enacted in September, the laws have been presented by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector by removing the middlemen and allowing farmers to sell anywhere in the country.
However, the protesting farmers have been worried that the new laws will eliminate the safety cushion of a Minimum Support Price (MSP) and procurement system, while rendering ineffective the mandi system that ensures earnings for various stakeholders in the farm sector.
After the meeting, the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) said in a statement that the talks remained inconclusive and the government’s proposal was not acceptable to farm unions.
It further said protests will now intensify across the country until their demands are met.
Soon after the Vigyan Bhawan meeting ended, a separate round of talks began at the Agriculture Ministry with representatives of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU).
The government said the talks with BKU members took place in a cordial atmosphere and the minister listened attentively to suggestions from the farmers.