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Farmers’ best interests in mind, govt always open for talks: Rajnath amid protest

Farmers at Ghazipur border during farmers protest against the farm laws (ANI Photo )Premium
Farmers at Ghazipur border during farmers protest against the farm laws (ANI Photo )

  • On Monday, protesting farmers held a day long fast to protest against the farm laws that have been passed by the central government
  • There have been six rounds of negotiations between the central government and farm leaders but negotiations have so far remained inconclusive

The farm protests in the national capital continue for almost three weeks even as there is no breakthrough in talks between the central government and farmer associations. On Monday, protesting farmers held a day long fast to protest against the farm laws that have been passed by the central government.

Thousands of farmers from states including Punjab and Haryana have been protesting on various borders of the national capital since end November against the three laws that they claim would leave them at the mercy of corporates by weakening minimum support price and mandi systems. The government has presented these laws as major reforms in the agriculture sector that would help increase the income of farmers.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said that the government is willing to hold dialogue with farmers but asserted that the recent reforms have been undertaken with the best interests of farmers. Singh said the government is "always willing to listen to our farmer brothers, alley their misgivings and provide them with assurances whatever they can provide. He also said that his government is always open for discussion and dialogue."

"There is no question of taking retrograde steps against our agricultural sector ever. The recent reforms have been undertaken with the best interests of India's farmers in mind", Rajnath Singh said while addressing the annual convention of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

There have been six rounds of negotiations between the central government and farm leaders but negotiations have so far remained inconclusive. Over the last three weeks, approximately 10 farm groups have joined to support the farm leaders against the bill. Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Monday said the government was working on deciding on a date for the next round of talks. He said that the government was ready for discussion and the farm leaders have to decide on when they are ready. This comes after the farm leaders last week rejected the proposal sent by the central government.

The day long fast by the farm leaders saw support from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

“These farm laws are not only anti-farmer but also anti-people, this will result into a massive price hike as these laws have given a license to do so and these laws are brought in to benefit some capitalists. These laws say only if prices of farm products doubles within a year then only the government can launch raids against the hoarders," Kejriwal said while addressing party leaders.

Meanwhile, even as protests against the laws continue, the All India Kisan Coordination Committee (AIKCC) on Monday became the fourth farm group to extend their support to the contentious legislations.

PTI contributed to this story.

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