New Delhi: The deadlock over the new farm laws continued as the seventh rounds of talks with the Centre remained inconclusive on Monday with the unions sticking to their demand for a complete repeal of three farm laws, while the government wanted to discuss only “problematic” clauses or other alternatives to resolve the over one-month-long deadlock. Also Read - World's Biggest Vaccination Drive to be Launched Today, Farmers-Centre Talks Reach no Conclusion: Check Top Headlines at This Hour
However, both the sides decided to meet again on January 8, after no headway could be made in about one hour of talks in the first session, followed by almost two hours of break and barely 30 minutes of the second session. Also Read - Farm Laws Stir: Police Stop Congress Workers With Water Cannon in Punjab; Hooda, Other Leaders Detained in Haryana
Soon after the meeting was over, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said he expects positive talks and a possible resolution in the next meeting, but asserted that “efforts need to be made from both sides for a solution to be reached.” Also Read - Deadlock Continues as Centre-farmers Talks Remain Inconclusive, Next Meet on Jan 19
He said no outcome could be reached in today’s meeting as farmer leaders remained “adamant” on one issue of repeal of the laws, but the government wanted a clause-wise discussion on the legislations to take forward the talks.
On the other hand, the farmer leaders alleged that it was the government’s “ego problem” that was coming in the way of resolving the issues and said they would not relent on their key demands for the repeal of the three laws and a legal guarantee for the MSP (minimum support price) system for procurement of their crops.
From the very beginning of the meeting, union leaders kept insisting on the repeal of the three contentious farm laws, while the government listed out various benefits of the new Acts, which it has presented as major agri-market reforms aimed at enhancing farmers’ income and making their lives easier.
Farmer leaders said the ministers told them that they need to consult internally and thereafter they would come back to the unions. The union leaders will also have their own meeting on Tuesday to decide their next course of action.
In Monday’s talks, another key demand of farmers for a legal guarantee to the Minimum Support Price (MSP) procurement system barely came up for discussion.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at various Delhi borders for over a month against the three laws. They have stayed put despite heavy rains and waterlogging at protest sites over the last couple of days, besides severe cold weather conditions prevailing in and around the national capital.
The protesting farmers fear that the new laws, enacted in September 2020, would weaken the MSP and mandi systems and leave them at the mercy of big corporates. The government has said that these apprehensions are misplaced.
On December 30, the sixth round of talks was held between the government and the farmer unions, where some common ground was reached on two demands — decriminalisation of stubble-burning and continuation of power subsidies.
(With inputs from PTI)