Union Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary on Saturday said that a solution would come up during the government’s January 4 talks with the farmers that would end the ongoing farm law protests, reported ANI.

“I am confident that in the next round of talks with farmers, a solution will be reached & ongoing protest will come to an end,” Chaudhary said. “Three farm bills are in favour of farmers. They [the farmers] used to demand to get rid of the middleman and sell their produce at the rate of their choice.”

Chaudhary also spoke about the matter of contract farming in the agriculture reforms. “Regarding contract farming, in the new bill, there can’t be an investigation against farmer even if he is at fault,” the minister said. “It also states there won’t be any agreement regarding land of farmer. The bill is favourable for farmers & PM [Prime Minister Narendra Modi] wants them to become ‘atma nirbhar’ [self-reliant India]”.

The Centre and the farmers are scheduled to hold talks on January 4 to resolve the farm laws matter. The first five rounds of talks did not yield any solution.

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had also said on Friday that the government was hopeful of a positive outcome during the January 4 meeting. He, however, did not say if it was the last round of talks.

Farmers to hold tractor rally on Republic Day

Meanwhile, farmers said that they would hold a tractor rally in Delhi on Republic Day, NDTV reported.

“If demands are not met, we will hold a tractor march on Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway in Haryana on January 6,” Dr Darshanpal, a farmer leader said at a press conference organised by a seven-member coordination committee of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha. “We will protest for 15 days.” He said that they would hold a protest outside a governor’s house on January 23, the birth anniversary of Subhash Chandra Bose.

“On January 26, we will hold a massive rally in Delhi with tricolours on tractors,” Darshanpal said. “We give a call for countrywide protests at all headquarters (of the unions).”

Darshanpal said that the rally, called the Kisaan Parade, would be peaceful. The farmers’ leaders also alleged that the government is misleading them over the minimum support price. “They’re saying the MSP won’t be abolished,” another farmer leader Gurnam Singh Chadhuni said. “But we’re demanding that a law should be created for it... it’s our right.”

Farm law protests

Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting at key entry points to Delhi for over a month against the laws now, withstanding temperatures dropping to two to three degrees Celsius.

The farmers fear the agricultural reforms will weaken the minimum support price mechanism under which the government buys agricultural produce, will lead to the deregulation of crop-pricing, deny them fair remuneration for their produce and leave them at the mercy of corporations.

The government, on the other hand, maintains that the new laws will give farmers more options in selling their produce, lead to better pricing, and free them from unfair monopolies. The law passed in September are meant to overhaul antiquated procurement procedures and open up the market, the government has claimed.