Farmers to decide on next step as government puts ball in their court
The Union government January 22, 2021 gave farmer unions 24 hours to get back to it on its proposal to ‘hold’ the contentious farm laws for 18 months, the Union agriculture minister told the media.
The government had offered to put on hold the three laws at the 10th round of meetings held January 20. A committee will deliberate on the laws during that period, the government had said.
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, a joint front of farmer unions protesting against the three laws, January 21, 2021 had rejected the Centre’s proposal. They had reiterated their demand of repealing the laws.
In the 11th round of talks January 22, no new date for the next meeting was fixed. Instead, the government asked the unions to get back to it within 24 hours if they approved of the proposal or suggest some other proposal other than a total repeal.
“The talks have completed today. We have asked the unions to inform us by tomorrow if they agree to our proposal,” Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare told journalists after the meeting.
“The government said suspending the laws for some time was the maximum they could do and if we had a better proposal other than repealing, we could inform it by tomorrow and arrange the next meeting,” Hannan Mollah, general secretary, All India Kisan Sabha, told media.
He added that the unions will discuss this among themselves.
The meeting started around 12:30 pm and lasted for five hours. But the talks between the two parties lasted hardly for 20 minutes. After around only 15 minutes, the parties broke for lunch and then the farmers waited for around three hours for Tomar to return.
When he finally came back, he asked the farmers to consider the proposal again and said the government was ending the process of meetings.
During the talks, the government also offered to increase the duration of the suspension of the laws and make a separate committee for discussing Minimum Support Price as well.
“Confidence regarding suspension and serious deliberation is not there among farmers,” said Mollah.
Rajendra Singh of Kirti Kisan Union said the farmers did not have confidence on the formation of a committee as the recommendations of several committees regarding agriculture had not been accepted till date.
“The recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission have still not been accepted,” he said while speaking to reporters.
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