Tomar says govt ready for talks, urges farmers to consider Centre’s proposal

The government is ready to consider with an open mind any provision in the new laws where farmers have any issues and clarify all their apprehensions, the agriculture minister said.

Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar’s reply, tabled in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, listed a series of initiatives taken by the Modi government since 2016 to achieve the aim of doubling farmers' income

A day after the protesting farmers rejected the government’s proposals, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Thursday (December 10) that the Centre is ready for further discussions with the farmers’ union leaders.

Addressing the media along with his Cabinet colleague Piyush Goyal, Tomar also said he is hopeful of a resolution.

“The government is keen and ready for further discussions with protesting farmers…I urge unions to set a date for discussion; we are ready to listen,” Tomar said.

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On Wednesday (December9), the farmers’ leaders, after rejecting the government’s draft proposal to the three new farm laws, had said they would intensify their protests until the laws are repealed. The government had also proposed to make necessary amendments.

Tomar said it was not proper to announce the next stage of agitation when talks were continuing and urged the unions to return to the discussion table.

“We gave our proposals to farmers after meeting them and therefore we urge them to consider those. If they want to discuss those proposals also, we are ready for that too… Laws don’t affect APMCs or MSP. We tried to explain this to farmers,” he said.

When asked whether the government would consider a new bill on the minimum support price (MSP) system, the minister said the new laws do not impact the MSP system and that will continue.

Goyal said, “We appeal our farmer brothers and sisters and the union leaders to end their protest and engage in dialogue with the government to resolve their issues.”

He said the government is very open and flexible to find an amicable solution for the benefit of India’s farmers.

“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.

“We kept waiting for suggestions from farmers’ leaders to address their concerns, but they are stuck on the repeal of laws,” he said.

Tomar said the government has always been ready for dialogue with farmers and it remains so.

“We are concerned about the farmers protesting in cold weather and during the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic. Farmers’ unions should consider the government’s proposal at the earliest and then we can mutually decide on the next meeting if required,’ the minister said.