Modi govt assures farmers on support price amid deadlock

New Delhi: Minimum Support Price (MSP) will not be touched, said Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar during a meeting here Thursday with leaders of farmers’ unions protesting against the recently enacted farm laws. Tomar said, “No changes will be made to it.”

Yet, the talks remained deadlocked as the union leaders stuck to their demand for the repeal of new farm laws. The government assured the group of nearly 40 farmer leaders that all their valid concerns would be considered with an open mind, but the other side flagged several loopholes and deficiencies in the laws, which they said were passed hastily in September, reports PTI.

Tomar, who led the government side at the fourth round of talks at Vigyan Bhavan, later told reporters that the next meeting will take place on Saturday to resolve the issue. He said the government has agreed to discuss all major points of concerns among farmers about the three new laws, including on strengthening of the APMC (Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee) mandi system, tax parity with proposed private mandis and freedom for farmers to approach higher courts for any dispute resolution.

The government will also be open to looking into farmers’ concerns related to an ordinance on stubble burning and an electricity-related law, Tomar said.

Union leaders, who came out of the meeting venue shouting slogans, said the talks remained deadlocked.

“Discussions are over from our side. Our leaders have said they will not attend further meetings if a solution is not given today by the government,” said Pratibha Shinde, AIKSCC member and president of Lok Sangharsh Morcha, which represents farmers of Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Another farmer leader Kulwant Singh Sandhu said the government made many proposals including on MSP and procurement system, which would be discussed among the farmer organizations on Friday before the next meeting with the government.

AIKSCC General Secretary Hannan Mollah said the main demand of the unions remains the repeal of the three Acts and the government also listened to the 8-10 specific deficiencies pointed out by the farmer leaders.

“We do not want any amendment. We want the Acts to be repealed,” he said.

Image courtesy of (Photos courtesy PTI)

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