“We have offered to keep the laws on hold for a year and a half, during which time a solution can be reached through mutual dialogue. It seems we are moving towards a solution and a positive outcome could be expected in the next meeting,” Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who represented the Central government, told reporters.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) President Joginder Singh Ugrahan said: “We rejected the proposal but since it has come from the government, we will meet tomorrow (Thursday) and deliberate on it.” Another farmer leader Kavitha Kuruganti said the government proposed to submit an affidavit in the Supreme Court for suspending the three farm laws for a period agreed upon, and set up a committee. Sources said as in the previous nine meetings, the Central government, represented by Tomar, Food Minister Piyush Goyal, and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, turned down the demand for repealing the Acts and offered to amend them. The farmers
rejected the proposal.
offered to take up the next issue of legal guarantee for minimum support price, to which the government side said the big issue of the three Acts needed to be settled before moving forward.
Seeing that the negotiations were reaching a dead end, Tomar offered to hold back the implementation of the laws.
The laws, meanwhile, have been stayed till further orders by the Supreme Court, which has formed a committee to resolve the deadlock.
The committee, which had its first meeting on Tuesday and will begin consultations with various stakeholders on Thursday, has been asked to give its report in two months.
Farmer leaders also raised the issue of notices being served to some of them by the National
Investigation Agency, alleging it was being done to harass those supporting the agitation. The government representatives said they would look into the matter.
Before the meeting, the three ministers met Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
In the last round of talks, the government had asked the farmers to prepare a proposal about their objections and suggestions on the three farm laws.
Bhartiya Kisan Union President Bhupinder Singh Mann has recused himself from the committee appointed by the apex court.
Shetkari Sanghatana (Maharashtra) President Anil Ghanwat and agricultural economists Pramod Kumar Joshi and Ashok Gulati are the other three members on the panel.
Under attack from protesting unions for their “pro-government” public stand on the three laws, the members of the committee have said they will keep aside their own views while consulting the various stakeholders, even as they indicated a repeal won’t augur well for agricultural reforms.
Earlier in the day, a group of farm union leaders met top police officials of Delhi, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh to discuss the route and arrangements for their tractor rally on January 26 to protest against the three farm laws.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed displeasure over the aspersions cast by some farmers’ unions on the members of the court-appointed committee, saying no adjudicating authority had been given to the experts, who would just hear their grievances and give a report.
Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.
As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.
Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.