No breakthrough in govt-farm union talks: Here’s what we know so far
Farm unions protesting against the three farm laws enacted in September have rejected the Centre’s offer to put the legislation in abeyance for at least one-and-a-half years. Here is what we know so far:
• The rejection has deepened the crisis as it appeared that almost two-month-long agitation could finally be resolved. Tens of thousands of farmers have been camping at New Delhi’s borders seeking a repeal of the laws.
• In the 10th round of negotiations with a 41-member delegation representing farm unions on Wednesday, the Centre offered to suspend the legislation.
• But the farmers hardened their stand on Thursday, saying they will not budge from their demand for a complete repeal.
• After several rounds of internal discussions over the government offer, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, the platform of farm unions leading the agitation, said on Thursday that the farmers had unanimously rejected the proposal. It said the proposal is unacceptable because its demand is a repeal of the laws.
• In a statement the unions said a full general body meeting of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha was held on Thursday and enacting legislation for remunerative minimum support price for all farmers was reiterated.
In Wednesday’s talks, the government said that it would file an affidavit before the Supreme Court about its decision to put the laws in abeyance till a solution to farmers’ demands was found.
• To discuss the issues raised by farmers, which includes a law guaranteeing assured prices for their produce, the government had also told farm unions that it proposed to set up a committee of representatives as well as experts who should be nominated both by farm unions and the government to examine “all agitation-related issues”.
• The move was hailed by experts as a step back by the government, and they expected farmers to reciprocate.
• The farm unions, too, said they would discuss the government’s fresh offer, sparking hopes of a resolution.
• The government pushed the laws to ease restrictions in farm trade, allow traders to stockpile large quantities of food stocks for future sales and lay down a national framework for contract farming based on written agreements.
• Farmers say the laws will erode their bargaining power and leave them at the mercy of big corporations. They have demanded a full repeal of the three agricultural laws and have also sought a legal guarantee of assured prices for farm produce.
• On January 12, after two days of deliberation, the Supreme Court suspended the pro-reforms farm laws until further order. The bench dealing with the case — headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde — also appointed a committee to look into farmers’ grievances over the laws.