Centre proposes to suspend farm laws for 1.5 years, next meeting on January 22
The 10th meeting between the Centre and protesting farmers resulted in what can be termed as a breakthrough in the ongoing impasse, as the Centre has proposed to suspend the three contentious farm laws for 1.5 to two years. The farmers, however, want a complete withdrawal of the laws as a mere suspension of the laws for some period of time will not bring about any change, farmer leaders said on Wednesday after the 10th round of talks concluded. The next round of meeting will be held on January 22.
Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar, however, is hopeful of a resolution in the next meeting. "I am happy that farmer unions have taken our proposal seriously and said that they would consider it tomorrow and consider their decision on January 22. I feel that the talks are progressing in the right direction and there is a possibility of finding a resolution soon," he said.
"Talks were held in a cordial atmosphere despite some 'naram-garam' moments," the minister said adding that it will be a victory for Indian democracy the day the protest ends.
Here is where the farmers' protest stands now:
1. This is for the first time the government has offered keep the farm laws suspended for 1.5 to 2 years. What the Centre conveyed earlier was contrary to this spirit. Union ministers had earlier urged farmers to let the laws be implemented for a few years and then decided.
2. The apex court, on the other hand, mentioned staying the implementation of the laws until the stalemate gets resolved several times and in its last verdict it stayed the laws.
3. The government on Wednesday once again offered to amend the laws as the 10th round of meeting started. The leaders stuck to their demand for a complete repeal of the laws and alleged that the Centre was avoiding discussion on a legal guarantee for MSP.
4. In the first two sessions of the day, there was no breakthrough as the discussion went on the beaten track of amending the laws.
5. Then the centre proposed to keep the three farm laws suspended for a fixed time period of one year or so and form a committee comprising of farmer union leaders and government representatives.
6. The ministers proposed that the laws would remain suspended till the committee gives its report and urged farmer unions to suspend their agitation till that time.
7. Farmer leaders, however, did not consider this as any breakthrough. But some unions said a final decision would be taken after their own internal consultations on Thursday.
8. The Supreme Court committee, set up to find a solution to the impasse, held its first meeting on Tuesday. It will start meeting various stakeholders from Thursday. It has been given a deadline of two months.