Today marked the conclusion of the sixth round of talks between the Centre and representatives of farmers' unions, with the government conceding on two of the four demands raised by the protesting farmers.
The Indian government on December 30 exempted the farmers from being penalised under the 'Commission for the Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance, 2020' for stubble burning. In addition, the Modi government has decided to withdraw the 'Electricity Amendment Bill 2020,' while refusing to agree to the other two demands of repealing the three anti-farm laws and ensuring the farmers of a legally binding minimum support price (MSP).
"Today's talks were held in a very good environment and concluded on a positive note. Consensus on two out of the four issues was reached between both the sides," ANI quoted Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar as saying after the meeting at Vigyan Bhawan.
While the government declared the meeting to be conclusive, announcing the next one to be on January 4, union leaders have accepted the semi-victory with hopes of their other demands being met in the coming year.
Punjab Kisan Union state president Ruldu Singh Mansa announced the Centre's decision to accept two of the four demands of the farmers, reported ANI.
Besides Tomar, Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Prakash were also representing the government at the deliberations, while the farmers were represented by more than 40 unions.
Claiming its decision to be cathartic to the farmers, the government appealed to the protestors to end their agitations and celebrate the New Year in their homes.
"Today's meeting with farmers will be decisive. We want them to celebrate New Year at their homes, with their family and we are going into the meeting with an open heart and mind. The government will try to resolve the issue so that people can go back to their homes," said Som Prakash before the meeting.
The previous round of talks between the two parties was held on December 5. The next meet was planned for December 9, which was eventually shelved when a meeting between Home Minister Amit Shah and some union leaders bore no conclusion.
While farmers' leaders have reiterated their four demands, the government too remains adamant as far as repealing the contentious laws are concerned, while saying that it is open to making amends.
Ministers Tomar and Goyal held two meetings with Amit Shah on December 29 to chalk out the Centre's strategy and approach for today's talks.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had flagged off the 'Kisan Rail' on December 28, yet again deeming the laws brought in by his government to be historic, saying that the aim behind the reforms is to boost agriculture and strengthen farmers.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, had taken to the streets over a month ago to protest the 'anti-farm' laws, with the Singhu border emerging as the epicentre of the protests.