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Agriculture Minister appeals to end farmers' protest, says Centre ready to resume talks

Agriculture Minister appeals to end farmers' protest, says Centre ready to resume talks

The government and farmer unions have held 11 rounds of talks so far, the last being on January 22, to break the deadlock and end the farmers' protest.

Tomar said the government is ready to for talks on any provision of the farm laws. Tomar said the government is ready to for talks on any provision of the farm laws.

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Saturday urged farm unions to end their protests, which entered eighth month, against the new farm laws and said the government is ready to talk on all the provisions of the three legistlations.

The government and farmer unions have held 11 rounds of talks so far, the last being on January 22, to break the deadlock and end the farmers' protest. Talks have not resumed following widespread violence during a tractor rally by protesting farmers on January 26.

In a tweet, Tomar said the government is ready to for talks on any provision of the farm laws. He also posted a video saying that the legislations will make a big difference in living conditions of farmers.

The Centre, he said, has increased the minimum support price (MSP) of farm produce and also the procurement at MSP. Despite a large number of people in the country supporting the new laws, he said the government is ready for talks with farm unions on the provisions of the legislations with which the unions have issues.

Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at Delhi's borders for seven months now in protest against the three laws that they say will end state procurement of crops at MSP.

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The Supreme Court has put on hold the implementation of the three laws till further orders and has set up a committee to find solutions. The committee has submitted its report.

Farmers' protest had started on November 26 last year and has now completed seven months, notwithstanding the coronavirus pandemic. Three union ministers, including Tomar and Food Minister Piyush Goyal, have held 11 rounds of talks with the protesting farmer unions.

In the last meeting on January 22, the government's negotiations with 41 farmer groups hit a roadblock as the unions squarely rejected the Centre's proposal of putting the laws on suspension.

During the 10th round of talks held on January 20, the Centre had offered to suspend the laws for 1-1.5 years and form a joint committee to find solutions, in return for protesting farmers going back to their respective homes from Delhi's borders.

The three laws -- The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020 -- were passed by the Parliament in September last year.

Farmer groups have alleged that these laws will end the mandi and MSP procurement systems and leave the farmers at the mercy of big corporates, even as the government has rejected these apprehensions as misplaced.

On January 11, the Supreme Court had stayed the implementation of the three laws till further orders and appointed a four-member panel to resolve the impasse. Bhartiya Kisan Union President Bhupinder Singh Mann had recused himself from the committee.

Shetkari Sanghatana (Maharashtra) President Anil Ghanwat and agriculture economists Pramod Kumar Joshi and Ashok Gulati are the other members on the panel. They have completed the consultation process with stakeholders and submitted the report.

(With PTI inputs)

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