The ninth round of talks between farmers and the Union government over the three farm laws on Friday ended without a breakthrough and the next meeting between the two sides will be held on January 19, officials familiar with the development said. Farmers insisted on complete repeal but the government wanted them to come up with specific objections, they added.
"Today's talks with farmers' unions were not decisive. We will hold talks again on January 19. We are positive about reaching a solution through talks. The government is concerned about the farmers protesting in cold conditions," Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar said, according to news agency ANI.
"The government will present its side before the committee constituted by the Supreme Court when asked," Tomar also said.
Tomar was referring to the four-member committee proposed by the top court to resolve the issue between the farmers and the Centre. The Supreme Court has also stayed the implementation of the three farm laws till further notice.
The last round of talks on January 8 failed to end the impasse as the Centre has refused to roll back the laws, which the farmers say will hurt their incomes. The farmers' unions have decided not to participate in consultations with the committee proposed by the Supreme Court on January 12 to examine three laws. They have alleged that the panel was "pro-government" since the members had endorsed the laws in the past.
On Friday, they reiterated their stance.
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), one of the 40 farmers' unions representing the protesting agriculturists, said their demands of repealing of the three farm laws and a guarantee for minimum support price (MSP) remain. "We will not go to the committee constituted by the Supreme Court. We will talk to central government only," Rakesh Tikait, BKU spokesperson, was quoted as saying by ANI.
Thousands of farmers are protesting against the Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act on the borders of the national Capital since 26 November.