Govt, farmers begin 6th round of talks to end deadlock over new farm laws
New Delhi, December 30, 2020
A crucial and "decisive" sixth round of talks between the Centre and 41 farmers' representatives began here on Wednesday to try and end the deadlock as the farmers' agitation against the three new Central farm laws entered the 35th day.
The meeting started around 2.30 p.m. at Vigyan Bhavan in the presence of Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal and Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Prakash.
Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal and other Ministry officials also are attending the meeting.
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 taking part in the meeting.
After five inconclusive rounds of talks, the government now hopes that this meeting would be "decisive" to end the agitation against three contentious new agricultural legislations enacted in September during the Monsoon Session of Parliament. The withdrawal of these laws is the first and the major demand of the agitating farmers.
In the meeting, the government will try to placate the farmers' anger on the market-oriented reforms introduced by it, said government sources.
Earlier, the Union Agriculture Ministry in an official letter had confirmed the resumption of talks mentioning a four-point agenda of the meeting that includes "modalities to be adopted for the repeal of the three Central farm acts; mechanisms to be adopted to make remunerative MSP (Minimum Support Price) recommended by the National Farmers' Commission into a legally guaranteed entitlement for all farmers and all agricultural commodities; amendments to be made and notified in the 'Commission for the Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance, 2020' to exclude farmers from the penal provisions of the Ordinance; and changes to be made in the draft Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 to protect the interests of farmers".
After a meeting at Singhu -- a major protest venue at the Delhi-Haryana border -- the farmer leaders under the banner of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) arrived at Vigyan Bhavan for the fresh talks reiterating that the "first and foremost demand of the farmers of India is to repeal the three farm laws and the Electricity Bill, 2020, every other demand only follows this".