Centre invites farmers for talks on Wednesday to resolve protests
The central government has invited farmers for a fresh round of talks at 2 pm on Wednesday to resolve the ongoing protests over new agricultural laws. Previously, the government has held five rounds of talks with farmers, but they have all fallen through. The development comes days after the Supreme Court ordered the formation of a committee to resolve the protests.
A senior official of the Agriculture Ministry was quoted as saying by NDTV, "[Wednesday's] meeting will discuss the laws related to all three new agrarian reforms, the existing system of MSP (Minimum Support Price), Central Electricity Bill and the Commission Ordinance brought for pollution." Last week, the Ministry Joint Secretary Vivek Aggarwal had said that discussions on MSP are not logical.
For months, farmers have protested against the three farm laws passed in September. The protests intensified in November-end as thousands of farmers from several states reached Delhi, braving a police crackdown. Farmers fear that by allowing trade outside APMC mandis, the laws will weaken the mandis and they would be deprived of Minimum Support Prices (MSPs), leaving them vulnerable to exploitation by corporations.
Ahead of Wednesday's meeting, Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Piyush Goyal met Home Minister Amit Shah. Shah had last held talks with farmers, while Tomar and Goyal have been representing the government in continuing negotiations over the laws with the farmers. While the government has offered to amend the agricultural laws, but farmer leaders have pushed for a complete rollback.
At a meeting of Confederation of NGOs of Rural India or CNRI, Tomar said on Monday that the farm laws have received widespread acceptance across the country. The Minister has expressed hope for a resolution to the farmers' protest with the next round of talks. He also reiterated the government's stand on the protests, claiming that the Opposition is trying to mislead farmers.