Government is open to further adjustments if agriculture negotiations resume: official
The Union government has not ruled out further concessions or amendments to the three farm laws and a recent set of proposals it sent to farm unions should not be considered final, as long as farmers restart negotiations and voice their objections, a knowledgeable person de said the matter.
The government has worked through the back channels to get farmer groups back to the negotiating table, added the person quoted above, who asked not to be identified. In its secondary channel conversations, the government has urged farm unions not to insist on repealing the three controversial farm laws as a precondition for dialogue.
The government is open to making additional concessions, but repeal of the laws is not an option, the person said. “The government believes that comprehensive safeguards for each and every apprehension can be included in laws to end all vulnerabilities of farmers through discussions. The proposals sent to farmers so far are not final. This is the government’s position. “
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, are protesting a series of reforms that they say will harm their livelihoods. These changes include the lifting of restrictions on agribusiness participating in agricultural trade, the deregulation of agricultural markets, allowing traders to stock essential commodities, and a new contract farming regime. The person quoted above said that a new invitation to the talks could be sent to farmers.
On Sunday, a senior agriculture ministry bureaucrat wrote to Darshan Pal, an agricultural leader, asking him to clarify what objections the agricultural unions had to the government’s latest proposal on December 9. In the written proposal, the government had offered amendments to some provisions of the laws for greater oversight in deregulated markets, avoiding penalties for farmers for burning stubble, which causes pollution, and promising to continue providing subsidized energy to farmers in instead of direct cash transfers, but the agricultural union said it will not suspend its agitation until the laws are completely repealed.
“The Modi government is fundamentally wrong in treating agriculture as the basis for business growth. We will launch a counter-campaign against the lies spread by the prime minister, the agriculture minister and the BJP, ”said Avik Saha of Samyukt Kisan Morcha.
The agricultural unions have shown no signs that they are interested in resuming dialogue with the government since they suspended the talks on December 8, citing a stalemate.