Farmers protest against new Farm bills at Singhu Border, in New Delhi today
Farmers protest against new Farm bills at Singhu Border, in New Delhi today

At today's fourth round of government-farmers meeting at the Vigyan Bhawan Centre in Delhi, farmers' leaders suggested that the government hold a special parliamentary session, sought to abolish the three farm laws, and also remained firm that their protests would continue until the farm laws are reversed.

From the government side, the meeting was attended by Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Railways and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, who is also an MP from Punjab.

Farmers point out deficiencies in new laws in today’s meeting:

Although the government assured the group of nearly 40 farmer leaders that all their valid concerns would be addressed, farmers flagged several loopholes, claiming that the new laws were passed hastily.

Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar after the meet told reporters that the next meeting will take place on Saturday at 2 pm.

They said many proposals would be discussed among farmers' organizations on Friday, including on the MSP and procurement system, before the next meeting with the government on Saturday (December 5).

Earlier in the day, Rakesh Tikat was hopeful of solution

Farmer leader Rakesh Tikat, a spokesperson of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, before the fresh round of talks had said, “We hope that the talks today will be productive. If our demands are not met, then the farmers will continue the protest and even take part in the Republic Day parade held in Delhi."

Earlier rounds of talks failed:

The farmers had rejected the tea invitation from the government in the first round of talks held on December 1 and stated that they had come to demand their right from the government not to drink tea.

The Centre offered to set up a committee during the subsequent talks, which the farmers' unions rejected.

What are the news farm laws about & what are farmers’ concerns:

The government's new laws were framed in September 2020 as major reforms in the agricultural sector that will remove intermediaries and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.

However the protesting farmers were worried that the new laws would remove the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and procurement system's safety cushion, while rendering the mandi system ineffective to ensure earnings for different farm sector stakeholders.

The farmers are protesting against The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

For the last eight days, thousands of farmers have been camping on the Singhu and Tikri borders of the national capital as part of their protest against the legislation.

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Free Press Journal