New Delhi: After the 5th round of the Centre-farmers talks on Saturday, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar reiterated the government’s assurance to farmers that MSP will continue and there is no threat to it as the Narendra Modi government was fully committed to farmers and will remain so in the future. However, the talks remained inconclusive once again and the next meeting has been scheduled for December 9.
Speaking to mediapersons after the meeting with farmers, Tomar said: “We have told the farmers that MSP will continue. There is no need to be doubtful about MSP, and there is no threat to it.” He insisted that the Centre is ready to address all issues of farmers on MSP. “APMC (agricultural produce market committee) belongs to the state government and the government has no intention to impact the state mandis nor are they affected legally. Government is willing do whatever is required to strengthen the APMC. If anybody has an issue with APMC, then government is willing to resolve it,” Tomar added.
After a marathon meeting of close to 5 hours, He said the government will consider all their aspects and is willing to consider suggestions from farmers to resolve all the issues in connection with the recently enacted farm laws. However, the government could not get any suggestions from the farmers and the next meeting is scheduled on December 9, Tomar added.
Citing the winter season, he urged the farmer union leaders to send back the elderly and children. “The Narendra Modi government is committed for farmers and it will remain so in future. In past 6 years, many positive developments took: farmers’ income has increased, MSP has increased, government purchase has increased…,” said Tomar.
Earlier in the day, heated arguments and written placards in “Yes or No” were raised in the five-hour meeting that began at 2 p.m. at Vigyan Bhawan in Central Delhi. After multiple obstacles, the talks finally ended with no conclusion as the farmers stuck to their first and major demand to repeal the three farms laws enacted in September during the Monsoon Session of Parliament.
As the government could not put up a satisfactory solution to the demands of 40 farmer union leaders, who took part in the meeting, the delegation clearly communicated that the protest will continue if the government doesn’t repeal the three laws which they said are “anti-farmer”.
While the government was agreeable to amendments to 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 The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020, farmers were pushing for the scrapping of these laws.
Farmer leaders communicated that they will hold “Bharat Bandh” on December 8 as their demands haven’t been met.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of State Som Prakash and Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal were also present in the meeting, like in the previous rounds of talks on December 1 and 3 which were also remained inconclusive.
The farmers had put out a five-point charter of demands that include framing of a specific law on MSP, no punishment for stubble-burning, repeal of the three farm laws, settlement of objections about proposed Electricity (Amendment) Act, 2020 and written assurance on MSP.
Thousands of protesters have blocked Delhi borders at five points connecting it to Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.