Day before ninth round of talks with farmers, agriculture minister Tomar says hopeful of positive discussion
- Day before ninth round of talks with farmers, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar says hopeful of positive discussion
Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar has confirmed that the ninth round of negotiations with protesting farmer unions will take place as scheduled on Friday and hoped that it would lead to positive discussions regarding the newly implemented farm bills.
"Hopeful of positive discussion at the ninth round of talks with farmer unions on Friday," Tomar was quoted as saying by news agency PTI on Thursday. The minister reiterated the government's stance and said that the Centre is ready to hold talks with farmer leaders with an open mind.
The farmer union too said that they will attend the scheduled talks on Friday asserting that it is necessary to continue the dialogue to resolve the deadlock and end the agitation. "Let's see what happens tomorrow. But, our meetings will continue with the government till our protest ends as it is necessary. We will not oppose the meetings with the government," Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait said.
The government and representatives of the farmers' unions have previously held eight rounds of discussions but both sides continue to stick to their original stance. After the last round of discussions, Tomar had asked farmers to suggest an alternative for the farm laws and made it clear that the government will not repeal the laws.
On their part, the farmers have maintained that they will not end their protest till the time the three laws - passed by Parliament in September - are repealed. They have also sought a legal guarantee that the system of procurement under the Minimum Support Price (MSP) will continue unaffected.
The Supreme Court had on January 12 stayed the implementation of the farm laws and ordered the formation of a four-member committee to end the impasse between the government and the farmers who have been protesting near Delhi since late November.
The three contentious laws are Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act after several petitions were filed against them.
The farmers' unions representatives after the Supreme Court order had said that they do not want the four-member committee to resolve the issues citing government's stand on the farm laws. They highlighted that discussions with the committee will not lead to any results if the government remains firm on not repealing the laws.
Farmer unions believe that these laws allow multinational companies to enter the agricultural sector and earn profits at the expense of the farmers. They also believe that these laws will affect government procurement of crop yields under the MSP system.
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