The center is asking farmers to choose the date for the next round of talks on new farm laws

The center is asking farmers to choose the date for the next round of talks on new farm laws

Farmers have been camping at various border points in Delhi for over three weeks.

New Delhi:

The government on Sunday asked protesting peasant unions to express their concerns about their earlier proposal to amend the new agricultural laws and to select a suitable date for the next round of talks so that the ongoing agitation can end at the earliest.

In a letter to 40 union leaders, Joint Secretary of the Union’s Ministry of Agriculture, Vivek Aggarwal, said the center was making every “open-hearted” effort to find an appropriate solution to all concerns raised by farmers.

In the past five rounds of talks between the government and the unions, the impasse has not been overcome, as farmers have been insisting for over three weeks on repealing the three laws and camping at different border points in Delhi.

Mr Aggarwal said that in its draft proposal, sent on December 9th, the government had proposed making necessary changes on at least seven issues, including a “written assurance” to farmers that the existing system of minimum support prices (MSP) would continue.

However, the unions rejected the proposal in an email sent by the President of the Krantikari Kisan Union, Darshan Pal, on December 16.

In the most recent letter, which was also sent to Mr. Pal, Mr. Aggarwal said the farmers ‘unions’ response to the government’s draft proposal was “very brief”.

The reason for the rejection of the draft proposal is not given. “It is not clear whether the views belong to you (Pal) or all of the unions,” he said in the Hindi letter.

Mr. Aggarwal urged union leaders in talks with the government to provide details of their remaining concerns and doubts about the draft proposal and “propose a date for the next round of talks”.

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The government intends to hold the next meeting in Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi to resolve the issue so that the ongoing protests end at the earliest, he added.

The letter also mentioned that the government held meetings with several other farmers’ organizations and sought their suggestions on the matter.

Earlier in the day, Interior Minister Amit Shah said it was likely that Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar would meet union leaders in a day or two.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, UP and some other states are protesting against the Farmers Agreement (Empowerment and Protection) of the Act on Price Protection and Agricultural Services, the Act on Farmers’ Production and Trade (Promotion and Facilitation) and the Act on Essential Goods (Change)) action.

The three agricultural laws passed in September have been projected by the central government as major reforms in the agricultural sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.

However, the protesting farmers have expressed concern that the new laws would pave the way for the removal of the safety cushion of the minimum support price and abolish the mandi system and hand them over to large companies.

(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)

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