The seventh round of talks between the government and protesting farmers ended inconclusively on Monday as unions stuck to their demand for a complete repeal of three farm laws they find pro-corporate, while the government wanted to discuss only “problematic” clauses or other alternatives to resolve the over one-month-long deadlock. The two sides decided to meet again on January 8, after no headway could be made in about one hour of talks in the first session, followed by almost two hours of break and barely 30 minutes of the second session.
Farmers have been camping at the Delhi border, protesting against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.
Enacted in September last year, the three farm laws have been projected by the central government as major reforms in the agriculture sector, promising to remove the middlemen and allowing the farmers to sell anywhere in the country.
However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of the MSP and do away with the mandi system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.
The government has repeatedly asserted that the MSP and mandi systems will stay and has accused the Opposition of inciting the farming community.