Farm laws: On what issues does the deadlock remain?

Farm laws: On what issues does the deadlock remain?

Protesting farmers at Delhi borders have stood against the Centre's farm laws braving the icy cold winds of the national capital

A farmer holds the Tricolor during a protest against the new farm laws, at Singhu Border in New Delhi. Credit: PTI Photo

The central government and farmer unions reached a consensus on two issues on December 30 during the sixth round of talks at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.

Protesting farmers at Delhi borders have stood against the Centre's farm laws braving the icy cold winds of the national capital for over a month now.

Farmers' protest live updates on DH

The government has presented these laws as major agriculture reforms aimed at helping farmers and increasing their income, but the protesting farmer unions fear that the new legislations have left them at the mercy of big corporates by weakening the MSP and mandi systems. 

As both the sides remain deadlocked over the main contentious demands, let us take a look at key developments in the farmers' agitation:

— Government has agreed to farmers' demands for dropping the penal provisions against farmers in an ordinance relating to stubble burning and to put on hold a proposed electricity amendment law, after nearly five hours of the sixth round of negotiations between three union ministers and a 41-member representative group of protesting farmers.

— The two sides remained deadlocked over the repeal of three farm laws and a legal guarantee for MSP as the government has ruled out a repeal of the laws.

—  Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that discussions would continue on the remaining two out of the four items on the agenda on January 4 at 2 pm.

— During the meeting yesterday, the government is believed to have offered to set up a committee for better implementation of the MSP procurement system, but the proposal did not find any favour with the union leaders.

— The unions have decided to postpone their proposed tractor rally, earlier scheduled for December 31, till the next round of talks on January 4. Farmer leaders have said that if the next meeting fails, then they will plan the next course of action.

— All India Kisan Sabha leader and CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Hannan Mollah has said that the farmer unions will decide the next proposal to the Modi government at Singhu border on January 2.

— Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said he was hopeful that a solution would emerge before the year 2020 ends. However, some union leaders said that farmers in some parts of the country are being forced to sell crops including paddy below the MSP as market rates have fallen.

— For the last few meetings, farmer leaders have been arranging their own food and beverages but had so far refused to accept even water offered by the government.

— The government had hoped it would be a decisive meeting and the protesting farmers would return from Delhi borders to their respective homes to celebrate the New Year, but farmer leaders insisted they are prepared to continue their agitation till the government agrees to their demands, including repeal of the laws.

— The sixth round of talks was originally scheduled for December 9 but it was called off after an informal meeting of Home Minister Shah with some union leaders failed to reach any breakthrough. The government had, however, followed up Shah's meeting with a draft proposal sent to these farmer unions in which it had suggested 7-8 amendments to the new laws and written assurance on the MSP procurement system.

(With PTI inputs)