- The government on Wednesday proposed to suspend the three contentious farm laws for one and half years and set up a joint committee to discuss the Acts to end the stalemate, but farmer leaders did not immediately accept the proposal and said they will revert after their internal consultations.
The next meeting has been scheduled for January 22, a day after the farmer unions hold their internal discussions on Thursday, farmer leaders said after the 10th round of talks ended at Vigyan Bhawan here after nearly five hours of talks, including two breaks.
“The government proposed to suspend the farm laws for one and a half years. We rejected the proposal but since it has come from the government, we will meet tomorrow and deliberate over it,” Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) president Joginder Singh Ugrahan said.
Another farmer leader Kavitha Kuruganti said the government also proposed to submit an affidavit in the Supreme Court for suspending the three farm laws for a mutually-agreed period and set up a committee.
The leaders said unions are firm on their demand for a complete repeal of the laws, but they will still discuss the government’s proposal and give their final decision in the next meeting.
During the meeting, the government also offered to amend the three laws but farmer leaders stuck to their demand and alleged that the Centre was avoiding discussion on a legal guarantee for MSP.
Farmer leaders said there was no breakthrough in the first two sessions as both sides were stuck on their stated positions vis-a-vis the three farm laws and there was little hope of any outcome other than fixing the date for the 11th round.
Sources said the government proposed to keep the three farm laws suspended for a fixed time period and form a committee comprising of farmer union leaders and government representatives.
The ministers proposed that the laws would remain suspended till the committee gives its report and urged farmer unions to suspend their agitation too till that time, sources added.
The laws have already been stayed till further orders by the Supreme Court, which has formed a committee to resolve the deadlock. The committee, which had its first meeting on Tuesday and will begin its consultations with various stakeholders on Thursday, has been asked to give its report in two months.
Farmer leaders also raised the issue of NIA notices being served to some farmers, alleging it was being done just to harass those supporting the agitation, to which the government representatives said they will look into the matter.
This is for the first time the government has offered keep the farm laws suspended for 1.5 to 2 years. What the Centre conveyed earlier was contrary to this spirit. Union ministers had earlier urged farmers to let the laws be implemented for a few years and then decided.