The impasse between farmers and government continued over the new farm laws on Tuesday as representatives of 35 agitating organisations vowed to intensify the stir. A marathon meeting of farmer leaders and three union ministers, held at Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi, ended without any resolution. Meanwhile, the government has called for another round of discussions on Thursday, December 3. During the meeting, the ministers explained the benefits of farm reform acts to the representatives of the farmers' Unions. Various issues related to these laws were discussed at length and talks were held in a cordial atmosphere, the agriculture ministry said in its statement. Tomar emphasised that the government is fully committed towards the welfare of farmers and agriculture development is always on the top priority.
"During the deliberations, the Union Agriculture Minister proposed to constitute an expert committee to put forth the issues of farmers so as to resolve them with mutual consent but the representative of the farmers unions suggested that all the representatives will attend a further round of discussions with the Government to resolve the matter amicably," the statement said. During the interaction, the government suggested to the farmer representatives "to identify the specific issues related to Farm Reform Acts and share with the government on December 2 for consideration. These issues will be discussed during the fourth round of meeting to be held on December 3."
- The protesting farmers expressed apprehension that the Centre's farm laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.
- The government, however, maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.
- At the nearly three-hour-long meeting, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar was accompanied by Railways and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, also an MP from Punjab.
- During the meeting, the government also offered the farmers to form a five-member committee to look into the issues related to the new farm laws. But, the proposal was turned down by the farmers.
- The government side was, however, firm in its stand that a high-level committee must be formed to look into the issues and wanted the farmer representatives to further consider the proposal.
Post the meeting, farmers' leader Shiv Kumar Sharma claimed that the government accepted that there might have been some flaw in the farm bills and that they are open to debate.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said they have been asked to come with specific issues in the new farm laws and the government is ready to discuss and address their concerns.
The December 3 meeting will focus on contentious issues put forward by the farmers.
Peaceful sit-ins by farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, continued at the Singhu and Tikri borders with no untoward incident reported after Friday's violence, while the numbers of protestors swelled at the Ghazipur border on Monday.
The opposition parties too stepped up the pressure, asking the Centre to "respect the democratic struggle" of the farmers and repeal the laws.