New Delhi: Amid the increasing demand to repeal the farm laws, the Central government will meet the protesting farmers for the sixth round of talks on Wednesday and hopeful of an early solution to end the deadlock. Also Read - PM Modi Launches India's Vaccination Drive, Gets Emotional as he Thanks Frontline Workers | Top Quotes From His Address to Nation
Ahead of the crucial sixth round of talks after a three-week hiatus, Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Piyush Goyal on Tuesday met senior BJP leader and Home Minister Amit Shah. As per updates, they discussed and finalised the government’s position for the meeting. Also Read - World's Biggest Vaccination Drive to be Launched Today, Farmers-Centre Talks Reach no Conclusion: Check Top Headlines at This Hour
Tomar, Goyal meet Shah ahead of talks Also Read - India Set to Rollout World’s Biggest Vaccination Drive Today, 3 Lakh Health Workers to Get Shots on Day 1
Tomar and Goyal, and MoS Commerce and Industry Som Parkash have been representing the Centre at the talks with the farmers. Tomar on Monday said he is hopeful of an early solution to the impasse.
The development comes after the Centre on Monday invited the 40 protesting farmer unions for the next round of talks on December 30 on all relevant issues to find a “logical solution” with “open mind” to the prolonged impasse over the three new agri laws that was enacted in September.
But in its letter on Tuesday, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the umbrella organisation which represents the farmer unions, said the modalities for repealing the three contentious laws and a legal guarantee on minimum support price (MSP) must be part of the agenda.
In the letter, the Morcha further added the agenda should also include amendments to be made and notified in the Commission for the Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance, 2020 to exclude farmers from its penal provisions.
Notably, the fifth round of talks was held on December 5, while the sixth round originally scheduled for December 9 was called off after an informal meeting of Home Minister Shah with some union leaders failed to reach any breakthrough.
The government had, however, followed up Shah’s meeting with a draft proposal sent to the unions in which it had suggested 7-8 amendments to the new laws and written assurance on the MSP procurement system. It has ruled out a repeal of the three agri laws.
Congress demands legal sanctity to demands of farmers
In the meantime, the Congress demanded legal sanctity to the demands of farmers including that on ensuring the MSP. Addressing a joint press conference, Congress leaders Rajeev Shukla and Govind Dotasra said the government must immediately repeal the three farm laws and bring fresh ones after incorporating the demands of farmers and then get them passed by Parliament.
Shukla also said it was wrong on the part of the government to dub the farmers agitation as political as it is an attempt to defame farmers.
Pawar accuses Centre of bulldozing farm laws
NCP supremo and former agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, meanwhile, accused the Centre of bulldozing the farm laws without consulting states and asserted that agriculture cannot be run “sitting in Delhi” as it involves farmers toiling in distant villages.
Pawar also raised questions about the composition of the three-member ministerial group negotiating with the unions, saying the ruling party should have put forward leaders with “in-depth” understanding of agriculture and farmers’ issues.
Thousands of protesting farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping at three Delhi border points — Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri — for the past 31 days, demanding a repeal of the three farm laws and legal guarantee for MSP.
They have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of the MSP and do away with the “mandi” (wholesale market) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.