On Friday, the 8th round of talks between Centre and farmers' unions concluded in two and a half hours without achieving any tangible outcome similar to the previous deliberation. Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and MoS Commerce Som Parkash represented the Centre during the talks. While the farmers maintained that they will not move from the protest sites till the three agrarian laws are repealed, the Union government refused to concede to this demand.
However, it reportedly indicated a willingness to amend the legislation based on the inputs of the farmers' unions. The meeting witnessed some acrimonious scenes with a farmer leader showing a paper with 'We will either die or win' written on it. Previously, the Centre had agreed not to penalise farmers for stubble burning and to continue the present mechanism of giving subsided electricity for agricultural use. But the farmer leaders have consistently rejected the proposal to have a clause-by-clause discussion of the farm laws. Tomar exuded confidence that the impasse will be resolved during the next round of talks scheduled to be held at 2 pm on January 15.
Addressing the media, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar remarked, "Today, the Indian government's talks with the farmers' unions started at 2 pm. The talks were centred around the three farm laws but no decision could be taken today. The Centre insisted that it will think about any alternative put forth by the unions other than asking for the repeal of the laws. The talks came to an end as no alternatives were put forth today. The Centre and the farmers' unions have both decided that we will again hold talks at 2 pm on January 15."
The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 aims at freeing the farmers from the constraints of the state Agriculture Produce Market Committees whereby they would be able to sell their produce anywhere. Meanwhile, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 protects and empowers farmers to engage with processors, wholesalers, large retailers, exporters for farm services. This entails the provision of contract farming. On the other hand, The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 specifies that the supply of foodstuffs including cereals, pulses, potato, edible oilseeds, and oils shall be regulated only under exceptional circumstances.