Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Monday termed the government’s proposal to suspend new farm laws for 1-1.5 years as the “best offer” and hoped that the protesting farmers’ unions will soon reconsider it and convey their decision. The talks between the government and 41 protesting farm unions have remained inconclusive even after 11 rounds of discussions. During the 10th round of talks, the government had climbed down and offered a proposal to keep the new laws in abeyance for 1-1.5 years, but it was rejected by the unions. In the 11th round of discussion, the government asked unions to reconsider the proposal and convey their final decision.
“The government has given the best offer to farmers’ unions. I am hopeful that they will convey their decision to us after discussing it among themselves. Once they communicate, we will take it forward,” Tomar told PTI. After the 11th round of talks, the minister had indicated that there won’t be further talks but he would be ready to meet for farmers’ final decision on the offer made by the government. It remains to be seen whether the farmers’ unions will convey their decision after their planned tractor rally or ‘Kisan Gantantra Parade’ in the city on January 26. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court-appointed committee on farm laws is scheduled to hold its second round of consultations with farmers and agricultural organisations on January 27.
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Notwithstanding severe cold, thousands of farmers — especially from Punjab, Haryana and parts of western Uttar Pradesh — have camped at Delhi borders seeking repeal of the new laws and a legal guarantee of government-fixed minimum support price for agri-crops. The farmers’ protest at Delhi borders has entered its 61st day and even peasants in other states like Maharashtra have started extending support to them.