The Narendra Modi government on Wednesday agreed to suspend the implementation of the three contentious farm laws for one-and-a-half years and offered to convey it to the Supreme Court in an affidavit. Kavitha Kuruganti, a representative of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, said the Centre was also willing to decide on a “mutually agreeable” time period, which may be more than the proposed 1.5 years, to put farm laws on freeze.
Besides this, the government during the 10th round of talks with the farmer unions offered to form a special joint committee to work out the future course of action. However, Kuruganti said it has not provided any details on who would be on this panel.
The laws have already been stayed till further orders by the Supreme Court. The top court had also formed committee to end the stalemate. The farmers have rejected the court-appointed committee, saying that all the four members were in favour of the agricultural laws. Later, one of the members had also stepped down.
During the nearly five hours of talks, Kuruganti said that the Centre spoke about its proposed committee making its recommendations on whether the legislations should be amended or withdrawn. “The farmer unions will discuss the government’s proposal at the Singhu border tomorrow [Thursday],” she added. “The farmer leaders will reply to the government’s offer on Friday around 12 pm.”
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that that talks between the two sides were “progressing in the right direction” and there was a possibility of finding a resolution on Friday, when the next round of negotiations is scheduled, ANI reported.
The minister added that during the talks the Centre said it was ready to put the implementation of the three new farm laws on hold for one or one-and-a-half years. “I am happy that farmer unions have taken this very seriously and said that they would consider it tomorrow [Thursday] and convey their decision on January 22,” Tomar said.
She said the farmer leaders will discuss the government’s proposal and respond to it on Friday.
Meanwhile, farmers said the government’s offer shows signs that it is nervous of their plans to take out a tractor rally during the Republic Day celebrations on January 26, NDTV reported. “The government is scared and is looking for ways to save its skin,” said Balkishan Singh Brar of the All India Kisan Sabha.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Railways, Commerce and Food Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, who is an MP from Punjab, were part of the talks with the representatives of around 40 farmer unions at the Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi.
Tens of thousands of farmers have been camping out on the outskirts of Delhi for over 50 days, demanding the repeal of the three agricultural 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.