‘Ready to give written assurance on continuing MSP’: Govt in proposal to protesting farmers
The government has said that it is ready to give “written assurance” to farmers protesting near Delhi that the existing Minimum Support Price (MSP) regime for procurement will continue. The farmers have been protesting near Delhi for nearly a fortnight seeking the repeal of three farm laws passed by Parliament. The government and the farmers have held five rounds of talks so far but the impasse is still continuing.
The government talked about written assurance on MSP in a proposal sent to 13 agitating farmer unions on Wednesday. The government also said it is ready to provide all necessary clarifications on their concerns about the new farm laws enacted in September. However, the proposal did not mention anything about the main demand of protesting farmers for the repeal of the laws.
“The government has tried to address the concerns of farmers with an open heart and with respect for the farming community of the country. The government appeals the Kisan unions to end their agitation,” the proposal sent by Agriculture Ministry Joint Secretary Vivek Aggarwal said.
On farmers’ fears that mandis would weaken after the new laws, the government said an amendment can be made wherein state governments can register the traders operating outside mandis. States can also impose tax and cess as they used in APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) mandis on them.
On concerns that farmers may be duped as anyone having just a PAN card is allowed to trade outside APMC mandis, the Centre said in the proposal that the state governments can be given the power to register such traders and make rules keeping in mind the local situation of farmers.
Further allaying the concerns that big corporates will take over farmlands, the proposal clarifies that no buyer can take loans against farmland nor any such condition will be made to farmers. On attaching farmland under contract farming, the government said the existing provision is clear but still it can be clarified further if required.
The proposal was sent after a meeting between Union home minister Amit Shah and farmer leaders in the national capital on Tuesday evening. At the meeting at the state-run Indian Council of Agriculture Research’s (ICAR) Pusa Complex, Shah had said that agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar would present a concrete proposal.
The farmers’ leaders, however, had reiterated that their only demand is the scrapping of the legislation that liberalise farm trade.
The farmers have been protesting since November 26 against the three laws passed by Parliament in September. The farmers had on Tuesday enforced a national shutdown (Bharat Bandh) from 11 am to 3 pm, which was peaceful.