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Govt ready to give written assurance on MSP, changes in farm laws
New Delhi, December 5, 2020
With the fifth round of talks between the Centre and agitating farmers' leaders set to begin on Saturday afternoon, the Union government is learnt to have decided to give a written assurance on MSP, and also agree to amend the three contentious farm laws enacted by Parliament in September.
As per sources privy to the developments, the government has decided to accept the farmers' demand for written assurance on Minimum Support Price (MSP) by an "executive order and not by legislation".
The development comes after a high-level meeting at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's residence here this morning, in which Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar participated.
After over one-and-half hours meeting with the Prime Minister, the source said, the government may accept to effect amendments to the farm laws that farmers dub as "black" and "anti-farmer".
The laws are The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
The decision was taken after four earlier talks between the Centre and farmer representatives here in the national capital remained inconclusive.
The fifth round of talks will start at 2 pm at Vigyan Bhavan in central Delhi. A group of nearly three dozen farmer leaders will participate in the meeting. Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of State Som Prakash and Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal will join the meeting.
The farmers had put out a five-point demands that include framing of a specific law on MSP, no punishment for stubble-burning, repeal of the three farm laws, settlement of objections about proposed Electricity (Amendment) Act, 2020 and written assurance on MSP.
The farmer union representatives in earlier talks had rejected the government's argument that the three farm laws were in the interest of farmers, saying the laws will only benefit big business and corporate houses.
Giving an example of sugarcane procurement, the farmers' organisations had also objected to contract farming and pointed out its drawbacks.
The Bharatiya Kisan Union, Bharatiya Kisan Sanyukt Morcha and Krantikari Kisan Union are among more than 34 farm unions which have demanded a special session of Parliament to frame a law on MSP as well as repeal of the farm laws.
Thousands of protesters have blocked Delhi borders at five points connecting it to Chandigarh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, crippling supply chains to the national capital.