‘Govt has no ego’: Agri minister Narendra Singh Tomar urges protesting farmers to continue talks

A day after protesting farmers rejected the government's offer for a written assurance on MSP and amend few provisions in the new farm laws, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday urged farmers to consider the proposals and said he is ready for further discussions with them.

"The government is ready to consider with an open mind any provision in the new laws where farmers have any issues and we want to clarify all their apprehensions," Tomar said at a press conference.

"We kept waiting for suggestions from farmers' leaders to address their concerns, but they are stuck on the repeal of laws," he said, while virtually ruling out conceding to the key demand with which thousands of farmers are protesting on various borders of the national capital for nearly two weeks.

Tomar said the government has always been ready for dialogue with farmers and it remains so. “The government has no ego. The government was, is and will always be open to dialogue,” Tomar said. He added that if farm unions raise specific issues on the laws, the government can work towards solutions.

The government fad on Wednesday proposed to give a "written assurance" that the existing Minimum Support Price (MSP) regime for procurement will continue. However, the farmers' unions rejected the proposal and said they would intensify their agitation until the government accepts their demand for a complete repeal of the three laws.

The government has also proposed to make necessary amendments on at least seven issues, including one to allay fears about the weakening of the mandi system.

Tomar, who along with his cabinet colleague Piyush Goyal had met senior party leader and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday night, said the government is ready to provide all necessary clarifications on their concerns about the new farm laws enacted in September, which he said were passed after detailed discussions in Parliament.

Thousands of farmers have been protesting at various border points of Delhi for almost two weeks seeking a repeal of the new agri laws, which they claim were aimed at benefitting corporates by weakening the 'mandi' system and the minimum support price (MSP) regime for procurement of farm produce.

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal