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Union ministers meet with farmers’ groups to get out of the stalemate in farm laws | India News

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NEW DELHI: The eighth round of talks between protesting farmers’ unions and three central ministers began here Friday afternoon to break the more than a month-long stalemate on recent farm laws.
Trade union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Railways, Trade and Food Minister Piyush Goyal, and State Trade Minister Som Parkash, who is a MP from Punjab, are holding talks with representatives of some 40 unions of farmers in Vigyan Bhawan.
On January 4, the seventh round of talks ended inconclusively, as the unions stuck to their demand for the total repeal of three farm laws, while the government wanted to discuss only the “problematic” clauses or other alternatives to end the stagnation.
Before that, in the sixth round of talks held on December 30 last year, a common ground was reached on two demands: the decriminalization of stubble burning and the continuation of energy subsidies.
Earlier, the Union’s minister of state for agriculture, Kailash Choudhury, expected a resolution to come out of Friday’s meeting.
“I am hopeful that a resolution will be reached at Friday’s meeting. We could have ended the deadlock if the protesting farmers’ unions had discussed the issues raised at the first meeting,” he told PTI.
There was no demand for repeal of the three farm laws at the first meeting, Choudhury added.
Just before the meeting, Kavitha Kuruganti, All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) member, said: “If no solution comes in today’s meeting, we will continue with our tractor rally plan on January 26.” .
“Our main demand is the repeal of the laws. We will not accept any amendment. The government is taking it as a matter of prestige and is not withdrawing the laws. But this is a matter of life and death for all farmers. There are no changes in our standing from the beginning, “he added.
Peasant agitators held tractor rallies on Thursday to press their demand for a rollback of the laws, while the Center said it was ready to consider any proposal other than repeal of the laws.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting at various border points in Delhi for more than a month against the three laws, despite the cold weather.
Enacted in September 2020, the government has presented these laws as important agricultural reforms aimed at increasing farmers’ incomes, but protesting farmers have expressed concern that these laws would weaken minimum price support (MSP) systems and “mandi” (wholesale market). and leave them at the mercy of the big corporations.
The government has maintained that these apprehensions are out of place and has ruled out a repeal of the laws.
While various opposition parties and people from outside have come out in support of farmers, some farmer groups have met with the agriculture minister in recent weeks to extend their support for the three laws.
The government had sent a draft proposal to protesting farmers’ unions last month, suggesting seven or eight amendments to the new laws and a written guarantee on the MSP’s procurement system.

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