Consensus On 2 Issues, Says Centre After Talks With Farmers: 10 Points

On Friday, the government had expressed hope that this round of meeting will be "decisive" and that the farmers could celebrate the New Year at their homes.

Centre also explained to farmers that the process of withdrawing laws is a long one

New Delhi: Firm on backing the contentious farm laws, the government has offered concessions elsewhere to farmers -- the electricity amendment bill and penal provisions for stubble burning. "Of the four agendas of farmers, two have been agreed upon. Talks will resume on January 4 on the two outstanding issues," said Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar after the sixth round of talks on Wednesday. Farmers who attended the meet said the government has indicated that it would not repeal the laws, citing the long process required. The 41 farmers' groups attending the meet said they will respond after discussions.

Here are the top 10 points in this big story:

  1. The government has offered to withdraw the Electricity Amendment Bill and the penal provisions for stubble burning in the Air Quality Commission Ordinance, which were among the other demands of the protesting farmers. "Talks will resume at 2 pm on January 4 on the two outstanding issues. The farmer unions should ask the elderly, the women and children to return home owing to the winter conditions," said Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar.

  2. The government is still adamant about not repealing the farm laws, said representatives of the farmers' groups. It is also not ready for legally enforced support prices for produce and said a committee can be formed to look into it.

  3. "The minister said as a farmer's son, he can understand the need for a legally enforceable support price. But it is not practicable due to enormous financial implications," said Kavita Kuruganti, representative of a farmers' union.

  4. The farmers had gone to the meeting with the idea of flagging alleged frauds committed by traders in Madhya Pradesh. A Rs 2 crore cheque offered to 22 farmers in Harda district of Madhya Pradesh has bounced, said one of the farmers' representatives, giving an instance.

  5. "After new farm laws were implemented in Uttar Pradesh, prices of crops have dropped by 50 per cent. Crops are being bought at below MSP. Paddy is being sold at Rs 800 per quintal. We will raise these issues in the meeting," Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait had told reporters.

  6. Union minister Som Prakash, who is part of the three-member team conducting the negotiations, expressed hope earlier that it would be "decisive meeting" and the government wants the farmers to "celebrate New Year at their homes". Mr Tomar and Mr Goyal had met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday, shortly after announcing Wednesday's meeting.

  7. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had ordered that a special committee be formed, insisting that the Centre's negotiations have failed. "Your negotiation will again fail as they (the farmers) won't agree," said the bench led by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde.

  8. The farmers have accused the government of benefitting corporates at their expense.  They have said they will accept nothing less than a repeal of the contentious farm laws. They also insist on a law that guarantees the Minimum Support Price, for which the government is only ready to give a written assurance.

  9. In Punjab, protesting farmers have attacked hundreds of cellphone towers of Reliance Jio, whose owner Mukesh Ambani is seen as one of the major beneficiaries of the farm laws. The Amarinder Singh government has promised strong action in such cases.

  10. The government, which says the farm laws will benefit farmers by removing middlemen and enabling them to sell crops anywhere in the country, has indicated that it will continue to back the farm laws.  It has blamed the opposition for the protests, saying they are inciting farmers for political gains.