Farmers’ protests: Consensus over 2 issues in sixth round

Next round of talks scheduled for January 4th, 2021.

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After the sixth round of talks between the farmers' unions and the Central Government today, Union Agricultural Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that a consensus has been reached over two out of four issues. However, the Government has not yet shown readiness to withdraw the laws, which has been the primary demand of the farmers. The next round of talks is scheduled to be held on January 4th, 2021.

NDTV has reported Tomar saying that the unions should ask the women and children to return home due to the severe winter conditions in Delhi. The Government has reportedly offered to withdraw the Electricity Amendment Bill, 2020 and the penal provisions for stubble burning in the Air Quality Commission Ordinance, which were among other demands of the farmers. The Government has also agreed to ensure Minimum Support Price (MSP) in writing.

During the meeting, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Tomar joined the farmers for lunch today. The farmers have refused to accept food from the government during the meetings, bringing their own food each time.

Protests against the three farm reform laws have been ongoing since September, amidst which the Central Government had also stopped railways going to Punjab. Demonstrations began at the end of November when thousands of farmers from northern states of Punjab and Haryana set out towards New Delhi to protest against these bills. The government tried to suppress the protests with force, as they employed water cannons and teargas shells, erected barricades and barbed wire fences, dug trenches on highways, and arrested hundreds of activists. Braving it all,  tens of thousands of farmers have amassed on the Delhi border and have laid siege to the capital.