Govt, Farmers Agree on 2 Issues; Talks on MSP, Repeal on 4 Jan

There was no headway on the demands to repeal the laws and provide legal guarantee on MSP.

3 min read
Farmers during a protest against the new farm laws at the Singhu Border on  24 December 2020.

Firm on backing the three contentious farm laws, the government on Wednesday, 30 December, agreed to decriminalise stubble burning and safeguard power subsidies – two out of four issues on the negotiating table with the protesting farmers for the year.

However, there was no headway on the demands to repeal the three newly enacted farm laws and provide legal guarantee on the MSP or minimum support price.

Talks will resume on 4 January on these outstanding issues, said Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar after the sixth round of talks between farmer leaders and the Centre over the farm laws, the Punjab President of the All India Kisan Sabha Balkaran Singh Brar said on 30 December.

Farmers who attended the meet said the government has indicated that it would not repeal the laws.

“Government has been saying that we should end the agitation and form a committee. But we didn't listen to them. We won't take back our movement. We won't form any committee. We'll discuss Minimum Support Price (MSP) in next meet,” Brar said, reported ANI.

“Today’s talks were held in a very good environment and it concluded on a positive note. Consensus on two out of four issues was reached between both sides.”
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar to ANI

Issues Agreed Upon?

Further, Narendra Singh Tomar said that owing to the cold temperatures in Delhi, he has requested the farmer leaders to send the elderly, women and children home.

According to ANI, Tomar added:

  • First issue was an ordinance related to the environment. Unions were apprehensive about farmers being included along with Parali ones. Both sides agreed to farmers' exclusion.
  • Farmers feel that if a reform is introduced in the Electricity Act, they'll suffer losses. Unions wanted that electricity subsidy be given to farmers by states for irrigation to continue. The consensus was reached on this issue also.
  • There were 4 points on agenda, out of which 2 points have been agreed upon. Talks concluded on a very good note, which further resulted in the formation of a healthy environment. However, the unions want the three farm laws to be repealed.
  • The government has been saying that MSP will continue. We are ready to give this in writing. But the farmers' unions feel that MSP should get legal status. So, the discussion will continue on the legal aspect of MSP and other issues at 2 pm on 4 January.

More Details

The government on Wednesday, 30 December, reportedly told farmer leaders that a committee could be formed to deliberate on their demands regarding the three farm laws.

Farmer leaders had demanded justice and compensation for the families of those who died during the protest, amid talks with the government, reported ANI.

According to ANI, a ‘Kar Sewa’ tempo, carrying food for farmers’ delegation, was seen at Vigyan Bhawan. Visuals from Vigyan Bhawan, shared by ANI, also showed Union Ministers Piyush Goyal and Narendra Singh Tomar having food with farm leaders during the lunch break

The farmers had gone to the meeting with the idea of flagging alleged frauds committed by traders in Madhya Pradesh.

Ahead of the talks, taking place 22 days after the last round of discussions was held, farm leaders had reiterated the demand for the repeal of the laws.

On Tuesday, the farmers' unions, while officially accepting the invitation for the talks, reiterated that the discussion should be on the modalities of repealing the laws, providing a legal guarantee for MSP, changes to the ‘Commission Ordinance for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and adjoining areas, 2020’, and the Electricity Amendment Bill.

(With inputs from PTI and The Indian Express.)

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