Indian Government still open to discussion with farmers’ unions

Narendra Singh Tomar. (File Photo: IANS)

Even as the farmers continue their protest at the borders of Delhi against the three Central farm laws, the government has reiterated its stand that it is “always open to discussion with farmers’ unions and will remain open to discussion with the agitating farmers to resolve the issue”.

In reply to multiple questions in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday posed by various MPs, including one on ‘repeal of new farm laws’ by Manoj Tiwari, Adoor Prakash, Sangam Lal Gupta, Saptagiri Sankar Ulaka, Pradyut Bordoloi and Amar Singh, the government said the new farm laws — The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 — are intended to provide an ecosystem where the farmers can enjoy the freedom of choice relating to the sale of their produce which facilitates remunerative prices to the farmers through competitive alternative channels for selling their produce.

These farm laws will facilitate direct buying from the farmers by the traders, processors, exporters, Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs), agriculture co-operative societies etc., so as to facilitate farmers with better price realisation due to shortening of supply chain and reduction in marketing cost to enhance their income, the government said.

Farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, had barged towards the national capital in November 2020 and since then they are carrying out a sit-in protest to demand complete repeal of the three farm laws.

Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar, informed the Lok Sabha that the government has engaged “actively and constantly with the agitating farmers’ unions to end the protests and 11 rounds of negotiating talks have been held between the government and the agitating farmers’ unions to resolve the issues”.

Invoking the government’s letter dated December 9, 2020 addressed to the farmers’ unions that explained point by point how the concerns expressed by the farmers were being taken care of in the proposal of the government of India, Tomar said, “The government also proposed to constitute a small group consisting of representatives of farmers’ unions, who can deliberate on the farm laws clause-wise in a time-bound manner and can also consider other issues related to the farmers. However, the farmers’ unions never agreed to discuss, excepting for demanding their repeal.”

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