Union ministers meet farmers’ groups to break deadlock
New Delhi: Farmers’ groups met three Union ministers on Thursday for fourth round of talks amid an ongoing protest seeking repeal of the new farm laws.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Railways, Commerce and Food Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, who is an MP from Punjab, are holding talks with the representatives of 35 farmers’ unions at the Vigyan Bhawan in the national capital.
The government said that the meeting started in the afternoon and discussions are being held in a cordial atmosphere.
On December 1, talks between both the sides ended in a stalemate after farmers’ groups rejected the government’s suggestion of a new committee to look into issues raised by farmers protesting against the new laws.
The government had rejected the demand for repealing the laws and asked the farmers’ bodies to identify specific issues related to the newly enacted Acts and submit those by December 2 for consideration and discussion on Thursday.
Enacted in September, the laws have been presented by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector by removing middlemen and allowing farmers to sell anywhere in the country.
However, the protesting farmers have been worried that the new laws will eliminate the safety cushion of a Minimum Support Price (MSP) and procurement system, while rendering ineffective the mandi system that ensures earnings for various stakeholders in the farm sector.
On Wednesday, agitating farmers demanded that the Centre convene a special session of Parliament and repeal the new farm laws as they threatened to block roads in Delhi and “take more steps” if it failed to do so.