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Indian govt sends written proposals to protesting farmers

A farmer feeds lettuce to his buffalo during a 21-day nationwide lockdown to slow the spreading of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Bhuinj village in Satara district in the western state of Maharashtra, India, April 1, 2020. REUTERS/Rajendra Jadhav. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

NEW DELHI, Dec 9, 2020, Business Standard. The minimum support price for certain agriculture produce will not end with recently enacted reforms, the government said in a written proposal sent to farmers on Wednesday, Business Standard reported.

The proposal was sent to farm leaders protesting three recently enacted laws liberalising India’s agriculture markets, listing written amendments that the government intends to carry out.

NDTV reported the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020, which farmers said goes against them, will not be introduced, according to the government proposal. The government had earlier argued that the laws are meant to monitor power distributors.

“We are now going to hold discussions on the proposal sent by the government of India,” ANI quoted Manjeet Singh, leader of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) as saying.

“We’ll strategise in our meeting and discuss their (centre’s) proposal. Farmers won’t go back. It’s a matter of their respect. Will the government not withdraw laws? Will there be tyranny? If the government is stubborn, so are farmers. The laws have to be withdrawn” said BKU spokesperson Rakesh Tikait earlier in the day, according to NDTV.

Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday evening met with 13 farmer leaders but the unscheduled talks failed to end the deadlock over three recently enacted laws that loosened rules around the sale, pricing and storage of farm produce, and had protected farmers from an unfettered free market for decades.

Opposition parties have criticised the reforms, saying they will benefit big business and be disastrous for the rural economy, and are due to meet President Ram Nath Kovind, the country’s ceremonial head of state, to discuss the controversial laws.

Unhappy with the liberalisation, farmers have set up protest camps and blocked roads surrounding the capital New Delhi, and on Tuesday they mounted a nationwide strike.

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