Agriculture

Centre offers to put farm laws on ‘hold’ for a year

Farmers will study proposal and get back; Centre also withdraws pleas against tractor rally

 
By Shagun Kapil
Published: Wednesday 20 January 2021

The government for the first time January 20, 2021 offered to put on hold the three contentious farm laws for one-and-a-half-year during which a committee would deliberate on them.

Farmer leaders responded that they would study the proposal with other farmer unions January 21 and get back to the government.

The government proposal and the farmers’ response came about in the 10h round of talks held between the two sides over the stalemate caused after the passing of the laws.

The hope of a breakthrough comes after 55 days of ongoing protests by tens of thousands of farmers at Delhi’s borders. The next meeting will be held January 22 and the government has expressed hope that a resolution could be reached then.

“I am happy that farmer unions have taken this very seriously and said they would consider it tomorrow and convey their decision on January 22. I feel that talks are progressing in the right direction and there is a possibility of finding a resolution January 22,” Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar told reporters after the meeting.

The government proposed to form a committee with farmers and government representatives as members to discuss the laws that will remain suspended during that time.

It also said it was ready to give an affidavit to this effect in the Supreme Court to dispel any doubts in the minds of farmer unions.

Meanwhile, the unions also took up the issue of farmers being harassed with National Investigation Agency notices with the Centre. The government responded that it was looking into the matter.

The Supreme Court on the morning of January 20, heard a plea by the Centre seeking an injunction against the proposed tractor rally by farmers January 26.

The court said it was “inappropriate” for it to act on the plea. It added that the question of who should be allowed into Delhi to hold protests was a law and order issue and had to be handled by the police and not by it. Following this, the Centre withdrew the petition.

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