Government and farmers unions agree on 2 issues, but not the repeal of laws, MSP | India News
The renewed discussions between 41 agricultural unions saw some progress despite the bleak outlook that preceded the talks. Importantly, the two sides agreed to remain committed to the next round of talks scheduled for January 4.
Following the Center’s decision “in principle” on the two “secondary” issues after more than five hours of talks, the unions expressed satisfaction, stating that the Center was on the defensive and that the concessions were a “half victory” for them. . They are hoping to fully prevail at the next meeting and postponed the proposed tractor march from Singhu to Tikri and Shahjahanpur on December 31.
The Center called on unions to end their uproar so that the elderly, women and children can return to their homes. But the unions decided to continue their protest until their main demands were met.
Agricultural representatives Balbir Singh Rajewal and Rajinder Singh Deep Singh Wala said the meeting was held in a pleasant atmosphere and they hoped that the government would repeal the three agricultural laws and make MSP legally binding.
The previous meeting was held on December 5, although the farmers had met with Amit Shah on December 8. After that, the stalemate persisted as draft proposals sent by the government on December 9 were rejected by farmer groups. “There were four items on the agenda today, of which two demands have been agreed.
The unions want the repeal of the three agricultural laws and the legal guarantee for MSP. The government has been saying that MSP will continue. We are ready to put this in writing. But the unions feel that the MSP should get legal status. So the discussion will continue on these two remaining issues on January 4, ”Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said after the meeting.
During the talks, Tomar urged the unions to suggest an alternative to repealing farm laws, saying that if a viable option was possible, the government would agree to it within 24 hours. The unions, however, continued to insist on the repeal of laws that allow the expansion of private trade, contract farming, and lift limits on livestock ownership.
On the issue of repeal, Tomar said this can be referred to a committee that will study “constitutional validity and ownership taking into account the well-being of farmers.” He asked the farmers to present their proposals that the government will study and discuss.
The Center has made clear that eliminating the laws is not on the table, even when it sought to offer written assurances on MSP.
Stressing that “both parties must take steps to reach an amicable solution,” Tomar told the unions that his demand for an MSP law and the difference between MSP and market rates for agricultural products would be referred to a committee.
“On MSP as a legal right of all farmers, the government proposed a committee, which they said could also examine the three central agricultural laws. This was not acceptable to us. We explained about the processes related to the MSP as a legally guaranteed price and the bill of a private member presented in Parliament with the support of 21 political parties, ”Kavitha Kuruganti of Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch told TOI. Kuruganti is the only peasant representative who attended the talks.
In addition to Tomar, who led the government side, the Minister of Consumer Affairs and Railways and Food, Piyush Goyal, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Som Parkash, the Secretary of Agriculture Sanjay Agrawal and other senior officials attended the conversations The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere with the ministers sharing ‘langar’ and the agricultural leaders later corresponding with afternoon tea organized by the government.
Tomar during the meeting also congratulated the farmers’ unions for keeping the agitation disciplined and peaceful and assured that the government is taking all possible measures for the well-being of the farmers.
Explaining the decision “in principle” on the farmers’ demands, Tomar said that since unions were concerned about the provision of sanctions on the issue of stubble burning in the new Ordinance on air quality management, the government decided to exclude farmers from the scope of the new law by “decriminalizing” it.
The Ordinance currently has a provision in which any breach or contravention of any provision / rule or order / direction of the Statutory Commission will be an offense punishable by a jail term of up to five years or a fine of up to Rs 1 crore or both. .
Officials said the government would now exclude farmers when it comes to stubble burning and maintain sanction provisions only for industries, transportation, construction units and others for their respective polluting activities in Delhi-NCR and adjacent areas.
On the proposed Electricity Bill (Amendment), Tomar said: “Farmers feel that if a reform is introduced in the Electricity Law, they will suffer losses in terms of subsidy. The unions wanted the electricity subsidies given to the farmers by the states for irrigation will continue. Consensus was also reached on this issue. ”
The government’s decisions on two ‘less contentious’ lawsuits come as the farmers’ movement has started to spread to other states, including Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
“Despite the efforts of the Uttar Pradesh government to contain the impact of the Delhi border turmoil, farmers in the state are preparing to support the agitator farmers and their demands. Since opposition parties such as the Samajwadi Party and The RLD are not playing an active role, the movement is led by farmers at the village and Khap levels in a traditional way similar to the previous upheavals that the state had seen during the time of Chaudhry Charan Singh and Mahendra Singh Tikait. continues in Delhi, farmers mobilizations from western UP will resume in the next two years. weeks, “said Sudhir Panwar, former member of the UP Planning Commission.