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'Not An Astrologer', Agriculture Minister Unsure If Jan 4 Farmer-govt Talks Will Be Final

Stating that he is not an "astrologer", Narendra Singh Tomar refrained from predicting whether this upcoming round of talks will be the last one or not.

Farmers' protest

On the topic of farmer unions meeting with the Centre over the 3 contentious farm bills, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Friday said that the government is hopeful of a "positive outcome" on January 4. Stating that he is not an "astrologer", Narendra Singh Tomar refrained from predicting whether this upcoming round of talks with framers will be final or not. Asserting that the last meeting held on December 30, 2020, happened in a cordial atmosphere, the Union Agriculture Minister said that there is a possibility of positive results in the interests of farmers and country's farm sector at the next meeting. 

Narendra Singh Tomar said, "We will see. I cannot say for sure now. I am not an astrologer. I am hopeful that whatever decision would be taken in the meeting will be in the interest of the country and of the farmers."

This statement by the Agriculture Minister comes after 6 rounds of talks between the Centre and around 40 farmer unions have failed to end farmers' protest on various Delhi borders.

READ | Farmers' Protest: Agriculture Min Narendra Tomar Chairs Key Meet Ahead Of Talks On Dec 9

Centre agrees on 2 out of 4 demands of farmers

The last round of discussions between the Centre and the farmers' unions ended on late Wednesday evening. The nearly 5-hour long deliberations on Wednesday ended inconclusively forcing another round which has been scheduled on January 4. The 4-point agenda set by the farmers' unions was tabled in the meeting, with the government conceding to two demands, Union Agriculture Minister confirmed. 

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The Centre has agreed to keep farmers out of the ambit of the penalty for stubble burning and has also conceded to the demand of not going ahead with the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020. As per sources, during the meeting, the government had told the farmers that the demands and issues related to the 3 agricultural laws can be discussed by forming a committee while explaining the long process of making and abolishing laws.  

The Union Government maintained that the laws will not be repealed, but agreed to talk on MSP later, asking the farmers to stop their agitation, once again. Amid the talks, Union Ministers - Narendra Singh Tomar, Piyush Goyal and Som Parkash joined the 40 farm union leaders to partake in their langar during the lunch break, in a friendly gesture to the farmers.

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Farmers' protest continues

Rejecting the Centre's proposed amendment to the 3 Farm Laws, farmers have stayed firm on their demand of total repeal of the Farm acts, stating a 'lack of trust' on the Modi government. The farm union leaders were sent a 10-point proposal by the Centre assuring to give written guarantee for Minimum Support Price (MSP), empowering states to create a law which will prevent misuse of traders' registration, continuing current electricity bill payment done by the government and amend the stubble burning penalty clause.  PM Modi has also released over Rs 18,000 crore to more than nine crore farmers under 'Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi' scheme. While the Centre has been in talks to several other farm unions supporting the Laws, the protesting unions have retaliated by approaching the Supreme Court seeking a total repeal of the laws and a nationwide farm waiver.

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(With PTI inputs)

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