Govt makes recent talks supply, farm unions persist with demand for repeal

Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 10

Reaching out to the agitating farmers, the BJP-led Centre today said it had given them written proposals addressing their concerns about the new farm laws and was ready to discuss any other issue they might have.

Even as the farm unions hardened their stance, the government virtually ruled out accepting their main demand for repealing the agricultural laws.

“Whenever you are ready, the government is ready for talks,” Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal said on a day the unions announced further plans for agitation.

Listing the many pro-farmer measures taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Tomar said the government’s constant effort had been to empower farmers and make agriculture and villages ‘atmanirbhar’ (self-reliant).

“Till the time villages and agriculture are self-reliant, the country cannot become self-reliant”. Tomar said. Since farmers were not “forthcoming on their issues and were sticking to the demand (of rolling back the laws),” the government culled out their concerns from the several rounds of talks and prepared the proposals, Tomar said, adding that the Central Government was well within its constitutional rights for making laws on agricultural trade.

“The government has given them a written assurance. If they are still unconvinced we can hold more discussions. We urge them to leave the path of agitation and come to the discussion table. When the dialogue is on, it is not correct to announce further agitation,” the Agriculture Minister said. Regarding their main demand, the ministers said laws had been formulated after “due diligence and consultations with stakeholders” and following proper parliamentary procedure “to benefit farmers and the agriculture sector”.

“No law can be completely wrong, you should read the Acts and see for yourself. We have taken due care and consideration and only then brought in the laws. We are only trying to benefit the farmers,” Tomar said.

Meanwhile, Goyal said panchayat election results from Rajasthan were a “proof of farmers’ complete faith” in PM Modi.

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