Govt’s meeting with farm leaders concludes; next round of talks on Dec 3

Govt proposes committee of farmers & experts to resolve issue; asks unions to suggest names Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Railways and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash.

Amidst the intensifying farmers’s protests, the govt on Tuesday (Dec 1) proposed the formation of a committee to debate contentious provisions of the new farm laws with the farmers.

At a gathering held at New Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan to resolve the six-day deadlock, Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Piyush Goyal have asked farmer union leaders to nominate members to be a part of the proposed committee which can also include agricultural experts and government representatives.

The first round of talks is now over and therefore the next round of negotiations will happen on December 3.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh are protesting at Singhu and Tikri borders since November 26 demanding a rollback of latest farm laws, which they fear will dismantle the minimum support price system and corporatise farming.

Reports say the govt currently has not decided to roll back the three farm laws: The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and therefore the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

The farmers sought an entire roll-back of the farm laws during the talks with the Centre. However, farmer unions haven’t expressed any happiness over the fixing of the proposed committee.
Reports said that the Centre gave an in depth presentation to the farmers’ associations during the third round of talks to clear the air about the three agrarian laws.

The Centre assured the farmers that the Agricultural Produce Market Committees and therefore the Minimum Support Price system would continue.

Several farmers’ leaders reached Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan on Tuesday, 1 December, for discussions with the Centre amid ongoing protests within the capital over government’s new farm laws.

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, before the talks, said that the offers that the govt will make will depend upon the precise demands of the protesting farmers.

“Som Parkash ji, Piyush Goyal ji and that i are going to be present within the meeting. the choices which we’ll offer to them will depend upon the precise demands which they present,” he said.

Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal had invited representatives of 32 farmer unions, including the Krantikari Kisan Union, Jammu Hari Kisan Sabha, Bhartiya Kisan Sabha (Dakauda), Kul Hind Kisan Sabha, Kriti Kisan Union and Punjab Kisan Union for discussion.

The talks that were scheduled to happen on 3 December were proponed taking into consideration the COVID-19 situation and winters, Tomar had said earlier.

“We decided to conduct subsequent round of talks on 3 December, but the farmers continued their protests and with the COVID-19 situation and winters, we decided that the talks should be held earlier.

Tomar also stated that the farmers have misunderstood the newly enacted three laws, hence the govt is prepared to speak with the Kisan Unions, who were present within the first round of meeting with the Centre.

The protesting farmers held a gathering earlier on Tuesday to require a choice on the Centre’s offer to carry talks.

Sukhvinder Sabhran, Joint Secretary of Punjab Kisan Sangharsh Committee in Delhi told that the govt. has invited only 32 farmer groups for the discussion out of 500 groups within the country. We won’t be going for talks till all groups are called.