On Tuesday, the meeting between Home Minister Amit Shah and farmers failed to break the deadlock over the three contentious farm laws, following which the scheduled sixth round of talks between the agitating farmers and the Centre, may not take place today. The meeting with the government is instead likely to happen on December 10.
The government will give its draft proposal, which the farmers will be discussing at a meeting at the Singhu border today. The draft proposal would include amendments that the Centre plans to bring in the new farm laws.
After meeting Amit Shah on Tuesday, All India Kisan Sabha general secretary Hannan Mollah said, “No meeting will be held between farmers and the government tomorrow (Wednesday). The minister has said a proposal would be given to farm leaders tomorrow (Wednesday). Farmer leaders will hold a meeting to discuss the proposal.” He further added, “The government is not ready to take back the farm laws. We will hold a meeting at Singhu border at 12 pm tomorrow.”
According to reports, Amit Shah has guaranteed to offer a written assurance that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) system will not be abolished while explaining that the APMC system was not linked to the laws. The Centre has also expressed its plan to improve the mandi system.
The amendments that the Centre offers include registration of private traders for trading outside regulated ‘mandis’ and adding that information on a government portal, equal taxes for APMC mandis and private markets to provide a level playing field for trade and allowing superior courts to handle disputes in contract farming.
The last rounds of talks made it clear that farmers have been firm on their demand to repeal the farm laws, which the Centre claim will benefit corporates and end the mandi as well as MSP system. However, too evidently, the government expressed that there has been no rethink on what they last stated.
Since November 26, thousands of farmers have been protesting at the borders of New Delhi against the three controversial farm laws- the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farms Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendments) Act 2020, passed by the Parliament in September. The agitating farmers called for a nationwide strike on Tuesday from 11 am to 3 pm, which was observed in around 10,000 places in 25 states.