‘Will argue with an open mind’: government writes to farmers again
The Union government has invited farmers to talk again, a day after farm unions rejected the government’s request to a high-ranking farm leader to suggest a date for the resumption of negotiations on three controversial farm laws. .
In a letter to agricultural unions, the government said it was willing not only to discuss existing proposals, but also new demands that farmers may have.
“If there is any new topic besides the proposals discussed on December 3, then the government is ready to discuss everything with an open mind,” wrote Deputy Secretary Vivek Agrawal of the Ministry of Agriculture in a letter to more than 30 agricultural leaders.
The bureaucrat, who wrote on behalf of agriculture minister Narendra Tomar, said that the new agricultural laws were not related to minimum prices for agricultural products in any way and that the support minimum price mechanism would continue.
The government reiterated its guarantee on the MSPs, the continuation of the agricultural energy subsidy and a solution for stubble burning. Agricultural unions protesting three recent laws said they were unwilling to restart negotiations with the government until it drafts a new agenda, presenting an increasingly difficult challenge for a government struggling to find a way to end the agitation of a month.
A massive farmer rebellion was sparked by three laws passed by the government in September that allow agribusinesses to trade with minimal regulation, allow traders to store large quantities of food products for economies of scale, and establish new contract farming rules. .
Farmers say the new rules favor large corporations with which they will lose business and gradually end the minimum price system set by the state.
Thursday’s rapprochement is the third written invitation the government has sent to protesting farmers, following five rounds of formal negotiations that ended on December 8, when farmers decided to suspend negotiations after a meeting with the interior minister. , Amit Shah, claiming a stalemate.
The coming and going of cards from both sides has only made the stalemate seem intractable. Farmers have rejected all official offers to carry out the negotiations, claiming that the government has avoided directly addressing its position on removing the full range of reforms passed by Parliament in September. While the government has made eight proposals, the farmers’ union has said the government has not given any concrete guarantees.
On December 20, the government responded to farmers’ written rejection of the proposals by saying that farmers should clarify in detail what their specific proposals are. “The reply you send us via email is very brief. It is not clear whether the opinions expressed in that email are his personal opinion or the collective opinion of all agricultural organizations, ”the government letter signed by Deputy Secretary Vivek Agarwal to Darshan Pal, a high-ranking leader representing the unions agricultural.
Pal said the unions were not reluctant to speak, but that they could not “set a new date” for the talks because the proposals the government put forward “were not acceptable.” “The government has to review them because we rejected these proposals on December 5,” he said.
“It was clearly a classic match. Nobody wants to blink first at least on the central issue of discussing a possible repeal or suspension of the laws, which farmers want. I think the talks can still be revived if the government can bring a model to compensate farmers for lower product prices, if not a law on MSP, ”said RS Manu, retired economist from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University .