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Government Seeks Names for Farmers Panel on MSP & Other Issues

Abin Joseph
Abin Joseph
Farmers Protest

The government has asked for the names of five representatives from the protesting farm unions for inclusion in a committee proposed by the Prime Minister to discuss issues such as promoting zero-budgeting farming and making MSP more "effective and transparent" on Tuesday, a day after Parliament cleared a Bill to repeal the three new agriculture laws that sparked farmer protests last year. 

On December 4, the SKM, which is leading the farmer protest, is set to declare its next line of action. BKU (Dakaunda) general secretary Jagmohan Singh Patiala told reporters that “Now we should start discussions about lifting dharnas from the borders, at places in Punjab and other states as well. This discussion should start within the unions now.” 

He also mentioned that “The government approached us on Tuesday, seeking names of five farmer union leaders to be part of the MSP committee. They gave us a verbal assurance that letters have been sent to all states to withdraw cases lodged against farmers. But there is nothing in writing yet. The Home Ministry is in constant touch with us. Hence, I believe most demands have been met,”  

“We have been told that the Electricity (Amendment) Bill will not be introduced in Parliament and the section penalising farmers for burning stubble in the pollution control ordinance has been withdrawn. But most things have only been informed to us verbally, not in writing,” he said. 

Sandhu said “all FIRs should be withdrawn rather than following a pick-and-choose policy… Let us see what comes out of the meeting between Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Haryana farmer unions on Wednesday.” 

Dr Darshan Pal, president of Krantikari Kisan Union, said: “I came to know that the government has asked for names of five representatives of farmers for the MSP committee. But no one approached me.” 

The SKM, in a statement Tuesday night, said: “SKM confirms that there was a telephone call from the Government of India to a Punjab farmer union leader, wherein the Government wanted five names to be suggested from SKM’s side for a committee. However, we have received no written communication and no details are available so far about what this Committee is about, its mandate or Terms of Reference. In the absence of such details, it would be premature to comment on this issue.” 

The statement was issued by Balbir Singh Rajewal, Dr Darshan Pal, Gurnam Singh Charuni, Hannan Mollah, Jagjit Singh Dallewal, Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Shivkumar Sharma ‘Kakkaji’, Yudhvir Singh and Yogendra Yadav. 

However, a stubborn Rakesh Tikait told India TV that the demonstration will cease only if the Centre guarantees MSP and meets the farmers' other requests, including as the dropping of lawsuits against protesting farmers. According to reports, the Home Ministry has already notified state governments that over 48,000 charges against farmers had been withdrawn during the year-long anti-farm legislation protest. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared earlier this month that a committee will be created to make choices on topics such as zero budgeting-based agriculture, modifying crop patterns to meet changing country demands, and making MSP more effective and transparent. 

He made the announcement during his State of the Union speech, in which he also indicated that the government has chosen to abolish three farm rules that have been the subject of farmer protests for the past year.

The group will include members from the federal and state governments, as well as farmers, agricultural scientists, and agricultural economists, according to the prime minister. 

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