Farmers' Protest Updates: Farmer leaders said the government said it needs to consult internally and thereafter it would come back to the unions. They also said that farmers will have their own meeting on Tuesday to decide their next course of action
A day ahead of the resumption of talks, the farmers had to face heavy and continuous rainfall on Sunday morning in Delhi. AP
Farmers' Protest LATEST Updates: The seventh round of talks between protesting unions and three central ministers ended inconclusively on Monday as the farmer leaders insisted on the repeal of the three contentious farm laws right from the beginning, even as the government listed various benefits from the Acts. The next meeting will take place on 8 January, farmer leaders said.
A stalemate continued on Monday between the government and a representative group of thousands of protesting farmers, as the unions stuck to their demand for the repeal of three farm laws right from the beginning of the meeting even as the ministers listed various benefits of the Acts.
As the two sides took a lunch break after about one hour of talks, sources told PTI that the Centre is not willing to repeal laws and has suggested the formation of a panel to take the matter forward
The seventh round of talks between protesting farmer unions and three central ministers got underway here on Monday afternoon to break the over-a-month-long deadlock on recent farm laws. 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, are holding the talks with the representatives of 40 farmer unions at the Vigyan Bhawan.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said he is hopeful for a “positive solution” to come out of Monday’s meeting. “We will discuss all issues in the meeting,”
Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Kailash Choudhary on Monday said that a positive solution will emerge from the seventh round of talks between the Centre and the farmers.
The seventh round of talks between the Centre and the farmers will be held today to discuss two key issues – the repeal of the three farm laws and giving legal status to the MSP guarantee.
A day before the crucial seventh round of talks between the Centre and protesting farmer unions, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar met Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday and discussed the government strategy to resolve the current crisis at the earliest, sources said.
Tomar discussed with Singh "all possible options" to find a "middle path" to resolve the crisis, sources added.
Singh, who served as agriculture minister in the erstwhile Atal Bihari Vajpayee cabinet, has emerged as a key troubleshooter and is working mostly behind the scenes on this issue.
Protesting farmers who have been camping at Delhi borders for the last 39 days braving the bone-chilling cold and now rains have threatened to intensify their protest if their two major demands -- repeal of the three new farm laws and legal backing for the minimum support price (MSP) -- are not accepted by the government in the January 4 meeting.
Rains since Saturday night led to waterlogging at the agitation venues, but the unions asserted that "we will not move from here until our demands are met".
After five rounds of inconclusive talks, the government and 40 farmer unions reached some common ground during the sixth round of negotiations on December 30 to resolve protesting farmers'' concerns over rise in power tariff and penalties for stubble burning, but the two sides remained deadlocked over the main contentious issues of the repeal of the three farm laws and a legal guarantee for MSP.
On January 1, Tomar had told PTI that the government is hopeful of a "positive outcome" at its next meeting with farmers'' unions on January 4 but refrained from predicting whether the seventh round of talks will be the last one.
Asked whether he expects the January 4 meeting to be the last one, the minister said, "I cannot say for sure now. I am not an astrologer. I am hopeful that whatever decision would be arrived at (in the meeting) will be in the interest of the country and of the farmers."
Last week, protesting farmer unions issued an "ultimatum" that they will march into Delhi with a "tractor parade" on Republic Day if their demands are not met in the next round of talks.
"The farmers' movement delivered an ultimatum to the Government of India and announced that farmers will march into Delhi on 26 January," Sankyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of around 40 protesting unions, had said in a statement.
Thousands of farmers have been protesting at various borders of the national capital for more than a month demanding repeal of the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.
Enacted in September 2020, the government has presented these laws as major farm reforms and aimed at increasing farmers'' income, but protesting farmers have raised concerns that these legislations would weaken the MSP and mandi systems and leave them at the mercy of big corporates.
The government has maintained these apprehensions are misplaced and has ruled out repealing the laws.
While several opposition parties and people from other walks of life have come out in support of the farmers, some farmer groups have also met Agriculture Minister Tomar over the last few weeks to extend their support for the three laws.