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The talks between the government and the farmers are not conclusive; next meeting on January 8 | India News


NEW DELHI: The seventh round of talks between protesting unions and three central ministers ended inconclusively on Monday, as peasant leaders insisted on repeal of the three contentious farm laws early on, even as the government listed various benefits of the laws.
The next meeting will take place on January 8, peasant leaders said.
The two sides took a long break after almost an hour of discussions, during which the protesting farmers’ representatives had their own food, organized from langar (community kitchen), as they have been doing the last few times.
However, unlike the last round of talks on December 30, the ministers did not join union leaders for the langar meal and were seen having their own separate discussion during the break, which lasted almost two hours.
The two parties met again to resume their discussions around 5.15 pm, but could not move forward as the talks continued to focus on the farmers’ demand for the repeal of the laws.
Peasant leaders said the government said it needs to hold internal consultations and will then go back to the unions.
Union leaders will also have their own meeting on Tuesday to decide their next course of action.
In talks on Monday, the two sides did not even discuss another key demand from farmers for a legal guarantee for the Minimum Livelihood Price (MSP) procurement system.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at various borders in Delhi for more than a month against the three laws. They have remained despite heavy rains and waterlogging at protest sites in recent days, in addition to the severe cold weather conditions prevailing in and around the national capital. Enacted in September 2020, the government has presented these laws as important agricultural reforms aimed at increasing farmers’ incomes.
During the meeting, the government listed various benefits of the three laws, enacted a few months ago, but farmers insisted that the legislation must be withdrawn to address their fears that the new laws would weaken the MSP and mandi systems and leave them in the mercy of the big corporations.
The government has maintained that these apprehensions are out of place and has ruled out repealing the laws.
Union Minister of Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Railways, Trade and Food, Piyush Goyal, and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, who is a MP from Punjab, are holding talks with representatives of 41 farmers unions in Vigyan Bhawan.
The meeting began with respect for the farmers who lost their lives during the ongoing protest, the sources said.
On December 30, the sixth round of talks was held between the government and farmers’ unions, where a common point was reached on two demands: the decriminalization of stubble burning and the continuation of energy subsidies. .
However, no progress could be made on the two main demands of the protesting farmers: a repeal of the three recent farm laws and a legal guarantee for the MSP’s procurement system.
On Sunday, Tomar met with Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and discussed the government’s strategy to resolve the current crisis as soon as possible, the sources said.
Tomar discussed with Singh all possible options to find a “middle way” to resolve the crisis, they added.
While various opposition parties and people from outside have come out in support of farmers, some farmer groups have also met with the agriculture minister in recent weeks to extend their support for the three laws.
Last month, the government sent a draft proposal to protesting farmers’ unions, suggesting seven or eight amendments to the new laws and a written guarantee on the MSP’s procurement system. The government has ruled out repealing the three farm laws.
Meanwhile, the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) issued a press release condemning the police action against protesting farmers in Punjab and Haryana and the ban on protests and dharnas imposed by the Madhya Pradesh government. and Uttar Pradesh.
He also said that an affidavit filed by Reliance Industries in Punjab and Haryana High Court was “a ploy to save his business.”

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