10th round of Govt-farmer talks on Central farm laws begins
New Delhi, January 20, 2021
The 10th round of dialogue between the government and farmers' representatives began on Wednesday here in the national capital amid expectations of a solution to end the deadlock as the protest by the farmers on Delhi's borders continued for the 56th day.
However, there is no signal from both sides so far indicating any fruitful decision to end the protest as farmers are still sticking to their demands on withdrawal of three contentious farm laws and guarantee on Minimum Support Price (MSP).
The government, on its part, is adamant about not repealing the the three new laws passed by Parliament in September last year.
The meeting began at Vigyan Bhawan, the same venue where the previous nine rounds of talks have been inconclusive.
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Parkash participated in the meeting from the side of the government.
Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal and other Ministry officials also attended the meeting.
Tomar and Goyal joined the meeting after discussing the issue with Union Home Minister Amit Shah at his residence.
Krantikari Kisan Union President (Punjab) Darshan Pal, Bharatiya Kisan Union's Jagjeet Singh Dalewal and Balbir Singh Rajewal, Jamhuri Kishan Sabha Punjab General Secretary Kulwant Singh, and Bharatiya Kisan Union (Uttar Pradesh) President Rakesh Tikait were among the 41 farm union leaders who took part in the meeting.
The farmers are sticking to their demand for the repeal of three new Central farm laws and a legal guarantee for the procurement of crops at MSP whereas the Union government is ready to bring about amendments in these laws.
Before the meeting, Punjab farmer leader Kirpal Singh said that farmer leaders would first like to deliberate on their core demand for the repeal of the three laws during the latest talks.
Punjab-based farmer leader and Bhartiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal) General Secretary Harinder Singh Lakhowal said: "In the previous talks, we urged the Union government to discuss the MSP issue. We will again discuss it in this meeting as well."
He also said that the issue of "harassment" of those supporting the farmers' agitation by the National Investigation Agency would again be brought up in Wednesday's meeting.
As for differences between farmer leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni and Shiv Kumar Sharma Kakaji, Harinder Singh said that the two had buried the hatchet and stand united.
He asserted that all farmer unions and others spearheading the farmers' movement were united and would continue the agitation till their demands were not accepted.
The farmers are demanding the repeal of The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020, and a law on procurement of crops at MSP.
The farmers have been protesting on Delhi's borders since November 26, 2020.