The seventh 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.
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 three 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The Union Government maintained that the laws will not be repealed, but agreed to talk on MSP later, asking the farmers to stop their agitation, once again.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 food during the lunch break, in a friendly gesture to the farmers.
After the end of the 7th round of talks on Wednesday, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar remarked that like previous discussions, the meeting was held in a conducive atmosphere. "Out of the four points put forth by the unions in the meeting today - two of them have been agreed upon mutually," Tomar said. Narendra Tomar also stated that he requested Union leaders to send back children and the elderly protesting at the national capital borders amid the chilly winters.
"The three laws and the new Ordinance, which the unions have been demanding to repeal and we have tried to explain to them the solutions to their problems. In the subject of MSP, the government has been stressing that the MSP will continue. Even before we had said that MSP will continue and the Centre is ready to give the assurance in writing and we stand by it. However, they feel that MSP should be legalized. Hence, the discussions around this is still pending. I am delighted that the union leaders have ensured to maintain a peaceful environment," the Union Minister said while speaking to media after the meeting.
Farmers feel that if reform is introduced in the Electricity Act, they'll suffer loss. Unions wanted that electricity subsidy given to farmers by states for irrigation should continue. The consensus was reached on this issue also: Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar https://t.co/bUIbLzSnyB pic.twitter.com/wW7CibZr6n— ANI (@ANI) December 30, 2020
Rejecting the Centre's proposed amendment to the three 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.