Government ready to suspend contentious farm laws for 1.5 years
In a major development in the deadlock between the central government and protesting farmers, farmer leaders said the Centre is ready to suspend the three contentious laws that triggered the agitation. The government had held the tenth round of talks with farmer leaders at New Delhi's Vigyan Bhawan on Wednesday to resolve the months-long protests. Here are more details.
All India Kisan Sabha General Secretary Hannan Mollah told reporters, "The government said that it is ready to file an affidavit in the (apex) court to the effect that it would put the implementation of the laws on hold for one and a half years." Mollah said the farmer leaders will hold a meeting on Thursday to deliberate on the government's proposal.
The government also said that a committee would be formed on Minimum Support Prices and the laws, and they would implement the committee's recommendations, Mollah informed. The government will also look into the "fake cases" registered by the National Investigation Agency against farmers, Mollah said, adding that the government has asked them for the names of people booked under such cases if any.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar—who has been leading the talks alongside Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash—confirmed the development. "I am happy that farmer unions have taken this very seriously and said that they would consider it tomorrow," Tomar said. The farmers will convey their decision on January 22, when the next round of talks are scheduled.
The Agriculture Minister said the talks are progressing in the right direction and there is a possibility of finding a resolution on January 22. However, a farmer leader was quoted as saying by ANI, "The farmers said that there is no point in suspending the laws and made it clear that we want the repeal of the laws."
For months, farmers have been protesting against the three farm laws passed in September. The protests intensified in November-end as thousands of farmers from several states reached Delhi, camping at the city's borders. Farmers fear that by allowing trade outside APMC mandis, the laws will weaken the mandis and they would be deprived of Minimum Support Prices, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation by corporations.
Last week, the Supreme Court had stayed the implementation of the farm laws and ordered a court-appointed committee to submit a report in two months. One of the four members of the committee, Bharatiya Kisan Union National President Bhupinder Singh Mann, has recused himself. Meanwhile, the farmers are planning a tractor rally in Delhi on Republic Day (January 26).