The tenth round of talks between the Centre and the representatives of protesting farmers' unions to end the deadlock over farm laws will take place on January 20 as the agitation on Delhi borders enters 56th day.
While the farmers remain adamant on their demand of repeal of the farm laws, the government has put the ball in the court of protesting farmers unions reiterating that the resolution was possible only if they agree to discuss anything other than repeal.
“The unions are not ready to discuss the laws clause by clause. We can resolve the issue if the unions agree to discuss the provisions of the laws that they think are problematic,” union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on January 18.
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Thousands of farmers, primarily from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping at several Delhi border points for nearly two months, demanding the repeal of the laws, and a legal guarantee on minimum support prices (MSP) for their crops.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar has, however, expressed confidence that the next round of talks between the government and farmer unions will be successful and claimed that the three laws, whose repeal has been demanded by protesting farmers, were based on demands made by the farming community over the years.
The farmers are preparing for their proposed tractor rally on Republic Day, even as the official's permission from Delhi police is yet to be worked out. The Supreme Court is also hearing a matter related to the tractor march on January 20.
The top court had on January 12 ordered a stay on the implementation of the three farm laws until further orders besides setting up a committee of experts that will talk to both sides and suggest changes where ever needed in the enactments as opposed by the farmers. The farmers, however, refused to appear before the committee. They alleged that all the four members of the SC-appointed committee were pro-laws
The SC-appointed committee met on January 19 for the first time to discuss the ways to end the deadlock. The committee decided to hold its first meeting with farmers on January 21.
‘The biggest challenge for the committee is to convince the agitating farmers to come for talks,” Anil Ghanwat, president of Shetkari Sangathan and one of the members of the committee told reporters after the meeting.
The other two members of the committee are Ashok Gulati, agriculture economist, and Dr Pramod Kumar Joshi, agri-scientist. The fourth member, Bhupinder Singh Mann, president of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), had earlier recused himself from the panel.
The ninth round of talks between the farm leaders and the government ended on January 15 without any breakthrough with the Centre refusing to repeal the three laws.