Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Sunday claimed that most of the farmers and experts were in favour of the agricultural laws, which has led to weeks-long protests near Delhi’s border points, ANI reported.
Tomar said that the Centre expected the farmers to discuss the laws clause-wise during the next round of talks on January 19 and talk about their demands other than the repeal of the laws.
“We had sent a proposal to farmer unions in which we agreed to address their apprehensions regarding mandis, traders’ registration among other things,” the agriculture minister added. “The government has also agreed to discuss laws on stubble burning and electricity but unions only want the repeal of the laws.”
The minister stated that the farmers were firm on their demand to repeal the laws. “When the government enacts the law, it is for the whole country,” he said. “Most of the farmers, scholars, scientists, and people working in the agriculture sector agree with these laws.”
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Tomar added that the Supreme Court’s stay on the implementation of the laws has put an end to the question of its withdrawal.
Meanwhile, Bhartiya Kisan Union Spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said that the farmers’ agitation will continue till the government agrees to repeal the laws. “If a few lakh farmers are camping at the borders of Delhi, why is the government not repealing the farm laws,” he asked.
‘New laws will help increase farmers’ income,’ says Amit Shah
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, on the other hand, said that the Centre was committed to the welfare of the farmers, ANI reported. “The three farm laws will help farmers’ income increase manifold,” he said at a rally in Karnataka. “Now farmers can sell agriculture produce anywhere in the country and the world.”
Shah asked the Congress why it didn’t implement welfare schemes for the farmers. “I would like to ask Congress leaders who are talking in favour of farmers, why didn’t you give Rs 6,000 per year to farmers or made Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana or amended ethanol policy when you were in power,” he questioned. “Because your intention was not right.”
Meanwhile on Saturday, the Bharatiya Kisan Union Lokshakti, one of the farmers’ groups participating in the protest, requested the Supreme Court to remove the committee appointed by it to resolve the deadlock over the news laws. The group said that the panel comprised only of those experts who support the contentious legislations.
Agricultural economists Ashok Gulati, Pramod Kumar Joshi, Shetkeri Sangthana member Anil Ghanwat along with Bhartiya Kisan Union National President Bhupinder Singh Mann were named in the court-appointed panel. Mann recused himself from the committee on Thursday, saying that he would always stand with the farmers and Punjab.
The farmers’ protest
Tens of thousands of farmers have been camping out on the outskirts of Delhi for over 50 days, demanding the repeal of the three laws passed in September. The farmers believe that the new laws undermine their livelihood and open the path for the corporate sector to dominate agricultural.
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.
Talks between the government and farmers’ unions yet again remained inconclusive on Friday, as protesting leaders stayed firm on their demand for repealing the laws. This was the ninth round of discussions over the drawn-out dispute, which again failed in ending the stalemate.