The fifth round of talks between farmers, demonstrating on the streets approaching the national capital against three laws that reform the agriculture sector in the country, and the government proved inconclusive today. After long talks and brainstorming, it was decided that the next round of talks would be held on 9 December.
However, after the meeting, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that the government was ready to “dispel the myths” about the minimum support price (MSP). Sources said that the government might add a provision in the law that a buyer could not purchase the products of farmers below the MSP. On the other hand, farmer leaders are still adamant on government withdrawing all the three laws.
The agriculture minister said, “We said that the MSP would continue; there is no threat to it. To doubt this is baseless. If there is still any doubt, the government is ready to resolve it.”
Tomar said further, “We do not want to influence the mandis in the states. The government is willing to do anything to strengthen the APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee). If anyone has any confusion about APMC, the government is ready to clarify it.”
In view of the still spreading coronavirus infection (Covid-19) and the impending cold weather conditions, the agriculture minister appealed to send the children and elders involved in the demonstration back home. “We have told the farmers that the government is ready to consider all the issues. If we get suggestions from farmer leaders, it will be easy to find a solution. I do not want to comment on the programme of the unions but will appeal to the farmers and their organisations to leave the path of agitation and come to negotiating table. The government has held several rounds of talks and is ready for further discussion and resolution.”
The agriculture minister said, “I want to assure the farmers that the Narendra Modi government is fully committed to their well-being and will remain so in future. Many agricultural laws have been implemented under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi. The farm budget and MSP have been increased among other things.”
All India Kisan Sabha General Secretary Hannan Mollah, reacting to the statements from the union agriculture minister, said, “We had said at the beginning of the meeting that our demand was to withdraw the laws. We do not want amendments in it. Our stand is strong. Finally, the government told us that the next meeting would be held on 9 December. We think the government will definitely withdraw the law.”