Government wants farmer unions to form informal group to prepare concrete proposals: Narendra Singh Tomar

NEW DELHI: Urging farmer unions to form an informal group among themselves to prepare concrete proposals to be discussed in the next meeting, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Friday detailed discussions took place at the ninth round of talks but could not reach a decisive stage.

The two sides, therefore, decided to meet again on January 19 at 12 pm, Tomar told reporters after the end of the meeting that lasted for nearly five hours.

“Talks took place over three farm laws in a cordial atmosphere and detailed discussions took place on some issues, but couldn’t reach a decisive stage,” he said.

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“We suggested they can form an informal group of people who can understand the laws better and prepare some concrete proposals, detailing what are farmers’ expectations and what clauses are problematic for them, which the government can consider with an open mind,” the minister said.

He further said the government is hopeful of discussions reaching some decisive stage at the tenth round of talks on January 19.

On the direct talks between the government and farmers continuing despite the Supreme Court appointing a panel, Tomar said everyone is fully committed to the apex court and the government will also present its side before the committee panel when invited.

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“Unions want to continue the dialogue with the government and we have no problem with that. The SC-appointed panel will also work for the welfare of farmers,” he said.

The minister said solution can emerge from the government-farmers talks as well as from the SC-appointed panel’s deliberations.

“Our effort is to resolve the issue through dialogue and we want the protest to end at the earliest given the adverse weather conditions and the COVID-19 pandemic situation,” he said.

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On Cong leader Rahul Gandhi’s allegations against the government with regard to the farm laws, Tomar said, “Rahul Gandhi’s statements and actions are laughed at within his own party also.”

“The Congress manifesto in 2019 itself promised these reforms and therefore Sonia and Rahul Gandhi should tell us whether they were lying at that time or are lying right now,” he said.