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Govt invites farmers for fresh talks

Govt invites farmers for fresh talks
camera_altFarmers protesting against farm laws, File photo

New Delhi: As the farmers' agitation demanding repeal of farm laws entered 25 the day on Sunday, the government invited their representatives for talks.

A letter by Joint Secretary, Agriculture, Vivek Aggarwal to the farmers said: "Please provide a list of apprehensions and give appropriate dates so fresh talks can be initiated in Vigyan Bhavan so that the protest ends soon."

The government mentioned how serious it is about farmers' issues, pointing at several rounds of previous talks; also, the government is trying to talk to farmers unions separately for feedback.

There have been five rounds of talks so far. The last one held with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and farmers rejected the government's offers, reports say.

Farmers are demanding complete rollback of three farm laws, while the government proposed amendments to them, which they rejected on December 9.

A written draft proposal to the farmers agreed to two main amendments regarding the minimum support price (MSP) and the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC). But the Centre rejected their demand to repeal the laws.

The Centre agreed in its proposal to a written assurance on the MSP and a uniform tax for private market yard and APMC -- a marketing board established by state governments to ensure that farmers are safeguarded from exploitation by large retailers, as well as ensuring farm to retail price does not touch excessively high levels.

According to the proposal, there would be a provision for registration for private traders dealing in agricultural produce.

Another assurance is framing new rules under which state governments would be given the power to come up measures on registration for the welfare of the farmers.

The government tried to dispel the misconception on the APMC Act that farmers will be caught in the clutches of private mandis and the mandis established by the mandi committees will weaken.

It proposed a provision that the state governments will ensure similar rate of "cess fee" in private as well as APMC mandis.

Clearing the apprehension among the farmers that big industrialists will take over farmers' lands and the farmers will be landless, the government's proposal said that it is already clear in the new law that neither can any loan be availed by the buyer on the structure to be built on the farmer's land nor such structure can be held hostage by him.

On the issue that there is no system of registration of agricultural contracts, the government said if the trader is not registered, he has to file a copy within 30 days regarding the deal with the farmers.

The government also said those approaching the civil courts would now be allowed. Earlier, any dispute would go to the district administration.

The government has clarified the provisions in the new laws are very clear and it will release them and publicise them in a clearer manner if there is any confusion on the issue.

It is willing to consider the provisions of the laws on which the farmers have raised objections but ruled out any repeal.

On the Electricity Amendment Act 2020, the government has assured that the Act would not be implemented and the earlier process would be maintained as status quo.

On the farmers' demand to take back the law on stubble burning, the government said it will come up with a proper arrangement on the subject.

IANS report with edits

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TAGS:farmers protest Farm laws 
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