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Center Tells Protesting Farmers Ready to Discuss “All Issues” India News


NEW DELHI / BATHINDA: A day after agricultural unions opposing the new laws sought to include repeal of the laws and a legal guarantee for a higher minimum support price (MSP) on the agenda of talks, the Center responded on Thursday saying that it is ready to address the issues that the unions want to discuss in addition to those discussed in previous rounds.
The letter from the Ministry of Agriculture to the group of 40 agricultural unions said that, although pummeling the MSP issue with agricultural laws for a specific discussion did not seem logical, since the laws had nothing to do with the support price mechanism, at government would still like to discuss them along with all other issues. The Center told the unions that it is ready to discuss “all the issues raised by you”, a position that is adapted to the additional conditions that the agricultural unions established in their letter to the government.

Center Tells Protesting Farmers Ready to Discuss "All Issues" India News

Emphasizing that the government is ready for talks when unions receive a call, the Center urged them to send details so they can be discussed. It was the ministry’s third letter to farmers’ unions, and the first was written on December 9 when the government listed the amendments that could be made to strengthen farm laws. He said it is a “must” listen to the agricultural unions and keep the doors open for talks. He said that he has been engaging unions with respect and with an open mind.

Although the ministry’s third letter to the unions appears to be a step up from its response on December 20 when it sought a date to resume talks without mentioning anything beyond the proposed amendments, agricultural leaders felt that if the government were to back down. take conversations seriously, you must have them first. laws on hold. Although a formal response will be confirmed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses farmers in six states on Friday, the stance could signal another change in position by the unions.

“These laws should at least be kept in abeyance while discussions are taking place. It’s like a ceasefire … If you set an agenda for a meeting where repeal is on the table, then we will have a good discussion.” said Avik Saha, national convener of Jai Kisan Andolan and general secretary of the umbrella body AIKSCC.
Some farm leaders said the letter sent a very confusing message. On the one hand, the ministry expressed its intention to speak to agricultural unions about all issues with an open mind, while on the other hand the government has taken a public position that the agricultural laws are good and that it will carry out these laws. . Officials noted that the Center was simply responding to the unions’ demand that the issues they are raising be discussed.

In response to the accusation that the government is trying to be divisive by holding parallel talks with “so-called peasant leaders and organizations that exist only on paper and those who have no connection to the ongoing struggle,” the ministry said it is government responsibility. to listen to the concerns of all agricultural unions or groups and cannot deny commitments to others (those who are not protesting against agricultural laws).
Ministry officials believe that the addition of the new MSP lawsuit in the comprehensive cost formula appeared to be an attempt by some farmers’ unions to turn the ongoing protests into an all-India problem, as the “price support “will worry everyone. unlike the protests over agricultural law issues that are mainly confined to Punjab, Haryana and western UP.

Times of India